Seafood Allergens


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Approximately 2 percent of adults and 5 percent of infants and small children in the United States suffer from food allergies.

The cause is natural allergenic proteins found in food that can pose a health risk to sensitive individuals.

Symptoms include a tingling sensation in the mouth, swelling of the tongue and throat and difficulty breathing. More severe cases include hives, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and a drop in blood pressure.

The eight foods defined as major food allergens are:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish (e.g., finfish; salmon, cod and flounder)
  • Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster and shrimp)
  • Tree nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans

Food allergic consumers must learn to avoid those foods which make them ill.

For industry, the basic safety controls for allergens are product declarations (labeling) and monitoring in processing operations to prevent cross contamination among foods.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 requires that all FDA-regulated packaged foods that contain a major food allergen to clearly identify the name of the food source.

For more information on seafood allergens visit the FDA website.

Contributed by David Green

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