Shellfish allergies are one of the most common allergies worldwide, second only to nuts, and they tend to be severe. An allergy to shellfish usually reveals itself in adulthood and stays for the rest of a sufferer’s life.
As such, a number of people must adhere to a shellfish-free diet.
What is a shellfish-free diet?
While it may seem simple to follow a diet free from shellfish, it can be more challenging than first thought. A sufferer of a shellfish allergy should look to avoid all crustaceans, molluscs and echinoderms. Examples of these are:
- Crawfish (also called crayfish or crawdads)
- Clams (including quahogs, a popular type of hard-shell clam)
- Squid (commonly known across the Mediterranean by the Italian ‘calamari’)
- Surimi (Japanese imitation shellfish)
Echinoderms, such as sea cucumbers and sea urchins, are common in Oriental cuisine. You must therefore ensure you are fully aware of what you are ordering should you eat at an Oriental restaurant.
If your allergy to shellfish is particularly severe then it is recommended that you are careful with certain non-food products, such as compost, pet foods and certain supplements, as these regularly contain shellfish.