Fish Allergies


An allergy to fish is one of the most common food allergies occurring in both children and adults. Recent studies concluded that a fish allergy affects about 0.4 percent of the population. Although a fish allergy can develop during childhood, about 40 percent of people with a fish allergy do not have a noticeable reaction until adulthood. Like many other food allergies, an allergy to fish can usually be expected to last a lifetime.

Like other food allergies, symptoms of an allergic reaction to fish can vary widely in severity. A mild reaction may include irritated skin or rash, headache, upset stomach, vomiting or diarrhea, as well as common allergy symptoms like a runny nose or scratchy throat. Like all food allergies, a severe and life threatening reaction called anaphylaxis may occur. Because these reactions can be unpredictable and anaphylaxis may occur quickly, it is recommended that anyone with a fish or other food allergy have access to a portable epinephrine injector, such as an EpiPen. 

How about Shellfish?

A shellfish allergy is often associated with fish allergies, and the two are commonly grouped into what is referred to as a “seafood allergy.” However, although it is possible for a person to have an allergy to both fish and shellfish, it should be noted that fish allergies and shellfish allergies are not related and someone suffering from a fish allergy does not necessarily need to avoid shellfish. It is, however, very important to be aware of the risk of cross-contamination, as many stores and restaurants that process and cook shellfish also process and cook fish, and the two can easily come into contact.

Ingredients to Look for When Avoiding Fish


Barbecue sauce, Bouillabaisee, Caesar salad, Caviar, Deep fried items, Fish flavoring, Fish Flour

Fish fume, Fish gelatin (kosher gelatin, marine gelatin), Fish oil, Fish sauce, Imitation fish or shellfish

Isinglass, Lutefisk maw, Maws (fish maw), Fish stock, Fish meal, Nuoc mam, Pizza (anchovy topping) Roe

Salad dressing, Seafood flavoring, Shark cartilage, Shark fin, Surimi, Sushi/Sashimi, Worcestershire sauce.


Fish Alternatives


There are many alternatives to milk so that you and your family can still enjoy making recipes that used milk without triggering your child’s allergy. If you have any concerns about the alternatives, ask your child’s allergist.


Meat (Beef or Turkey), Poultry, Grain, Walnuts, Flaxseed oil, Canola oil, Brussel sprouts, Spinach, Kale.

To get a fishy flavor, use kelp powder or cajun seasoning.