Fish Allergy

Usually lifelong, finned or scaly fish can cause severe allergic reactions. Approximately 40 percent of people with fish allergy have experienced their first allergic reaction as adults. Complete avoidance of one or more fish products is often advised, yet this can be difficult while traveling or eating out. Accidental exposure is more likely to occur when dining out, particularly when eating at restaurants where they offer a wide range of fish meals as well. The possibility of cross-contamination is also quite relevant. Allergic reactions to fish are diverse and these reactions to fish proteins may include a range of symptoms from mild (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, etc.) to severe (trouble breathing, wheezing, loss of consciousness, etc.). The most dangerous symptoms are breathing difficulties or a drop in blood pressure and anaphylactic shock. To prevent an allergic reaction, strict avoidance of fish and fish products is essential. Always read ingredient labels and ask restaurant employees to identify fish in your food. Communication is the key for ensuring a safe, enjoyable allergen free meal. Use or “Food Allergy Translate App” or your “Personal Food Allergy Translate Cards” to gain better understanding!


Salmon, tuna, anchovies, mackerel and halibut are the most common kinds of finned fish to which people are allergic. More than 50% of all people who are allergic to one type of fish are also allergic to other fish or to one type of shellfish. Special allergy tests may be helpful to identify allergic reactions for specific fishes and shellfishes.
Important: Finned or scaly fish and shellfish do not come from related families of foods, so being allergic to one group does not necessarily mean that you must avoid both.
There are two main varieties of seafood.

Allergic reactions

The major groups of seafood which can trigger allergic reactions are:


  • Finned or scaly fish (such as salmon, cod, mackerel, sardines, herring, anchovies, tuna, trout, haddock, etc.)


  • Crustaceans (such as prawns/shrimps, lobster, crab, crayfish, yabbies)
  • Molluscs (such as snail, abalone, clams, oysters, mussel)
  • Cephalopods (such as octopus, cuttlefish, squid, calamari)
  • Gastropods (such as sea slugs, garden slugs, snails)

Avoid foods

Avoiding fish is essential for treating your allergy.

Read all product labels carefully and ask restaurant personnel before purchasing and consuming any dish containing fish products. Many countries require that all packaged food products that contain fish as an ingredient must list the word “Fish” on the label. However this is not the case in all countries. Many restaurants are especially not following such guidelines and no long-term solutions exist for informing guests with food allergies about the potential presence of the nine major allergens. Do not let that eating out becomes one of your top concerns.

According to scientific researches, approximately there are upwards of 20,000 species of fish. Allergic reactions have been commonly reported to:

  • Anchovies
  • Bass
  • Catfish
  • Cod
  • Flounder
  • Grouper
  • Haddock
  • Hake
  • Halibut
  • Herring
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pollock
  • Salmon
  • Scrod
  • Swordfish
  • Sole
  • Snapper
  • Tilapia
  • Trout
  • Tuna


Fish is found

If you have any type of seafood allergy, avoid or be very-very careful with seafood restaurants. Even if you order a seafood-free item, cross-contact with fish is possible:

  • Ethnic restaurants (e.g., Chinese, African, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese) are considered high-risk because of the common use of fish and fish ingredients (such as fish sauce) and the possibility of cross-contact, even if you do not order fish.
  • Many people who are allergic to fish or shellfish are allergic to more than just one kind. Consult with your physician and get tested your allergy status to you make sure which seafoods to avoid.
  • According to experts, people who are allergic to fish or other seafood may not need to avoid fish oil. Fish oils on the US and European markets tend to be refined enough to remove all of fish proteins that can trigger allergic reactions. Anyway, consult with your allergist before consuming fish oils or contact the manufacturer for specifications.

High risk countries

High risk countries to travel with fish allergies:

  • All over the world, especially in Asian countries we are exposed to the risk of allergic reactions, what we're trying to reduce with our application in 33 languages.

With clear communication food allergies can be effectively managed!
According to experts and allergist the most effective and therefore best way to manage a food allergy is total avoidance. Novel solutions of communication seem to be a proven treatment for food allergies. Our Food Allergy Translate tools are contribution strategies to minimize your risk of accidents.

Eating out with food allergy!

Reduce your risk dramatically by using our Food Allergy Translate App or Personal Food Allergy Translate Cards to communicate your allergy alert in a foreign language.
Let the food service personnel know of your allergy in advance. They should take extra care in preparing your meal!

Be prepared to communicate your needs in any restaurants. Let the restaurant/catering staff informed for avoiding the potential presence of the nine major allergens.

Seafood allergy; Lehrer, S. B;
National Institutes of Health, NIAID Allergy Statistics;
National Report of the Expert Panel on Food Allergy Research, NIH-NIAID 2003;
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), Tree Nut Allergy;
Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004;
Stanford Alliance for Food Allergy Research (SAFAR). California 2013;
Canadian Food Inspection Agency. 2009)