Is a seafood allergy a common food allergy?

Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics

Yes, seafood--fish and shellfish are two of the eight major food allergens.  According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, an estimated 2.3% of Americans – that’s nearly 7 million people – report allergy to seafood, including fish and shellfish. Salmon, tuna, and halibut are the most common kinds of fish to which people are allergic.

Seafood allergies are some of the most common food allergies. Two different types of underwater creatures-fish (like bass) and crustacean shellfish (like lobster)-fall under the seafood allergy umbrella. Those two foods are part of the top eight major food triggers that are responsible for 90 percent of all food allergies, even though there are over 160 different foods that can cause allergic reactions.

Seafood might include finned fish such as cod, salmon and tuna as well as shellfish such as shrimp and lobster.  Our study showed that in the US population, 2% report a shellfish allergy and 0.4% report a fish allergy.These allergies can be severe and persistent. Fish and Crustacean shellfish (e.g., shrimp, lobster, crab) are included in US food allergy labeling laws, although non-Crustacean shellfish (e.g., oyster, clam) are not.

Fish and shellfish are two of the major causes of an adverse allergic reaction in individuals. The other major foods are: milk, eggs, tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, and macadamia nuts), peanuts, soybeans and wheat.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.