Where are shellfish found?
Shellfish are widely used as flavorings in packaged and processed food, and their shells and skeletons are employed to create a host of products, such as glucosamine, moisturizers, and calcium supplements. Allergic individuals may also experience allergy symptoms when they're near shellfish that's being cooked or processed, which is likely due to a reaction to aerosolized shellfish particles or vapors.1 As such, reactions have been reported among seafood industry workers, and allergic individuals may experience symptoms in environments where seafood is actively cooking, such as restaurants and kitchens.1,4
Since people who react to one type of shellfish are likely to react to other members of the same group (i.e., crustaceans or mollusks), there is a high risk of reactions due to cross-contamination, which can occur in fish markets and during fish preparation. This hazard also extends to frying oils. For example, if French fries (chips) were fried in the same oil as shrimp, the oil could contain traces of shellfish proteins, which can be passed along to the French fries.1
On food labels, shellfish may be identified as such, or it may be listed as any of the following, which may contain shellfish proteins.2
- Crustaceans: barnacle, crab, crawfish, crevette, krill, lobster, Moreton bay bugs, prawns, shrimp (aka crevette, scampi)
- Mollusks: abalone, clam, cockle, cuttlefish, limpet, mussel, octopus, oyster, periwinkle, sea cucumber, sea urchin, scallop, snail, squid (aka calamari), whelk
In addition, shellfish is sometimes found in the following:1,2 bouillabaisse, clam broth, condiments, crab extract powder, cuttlfish ink, etouffee, fish sauce, fish stock, fritto misto, glucosamine, fish stock, gumbo, jambalaya, lobster extract powder, kedgeree (a fish and rice dish), Lancashire hotpot (an English stew), oyster juice powder, oyster sauce, paella, scallop extract powder, seafood flavoring (e.g., crab or clam extract), shrimp powder, spices, and surimi.