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Seafood ingredients can be hidden in food

July 19, 2011 at 7:28 PM   |   Comments

SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 19 (UPI) -- Food shopping is more difficult for the 2.3 percent of Americans allergic to seafood because fish can be a hidden ingredient, a U.S. food industry analyst says.

Phil Lempert, creator of the Web site supermarket guru.com, says for those allergic to seafood to avoid a reaction, they should avoid touching fish, going to the fish market and being in an area where fish is being cooked because, similar to a general seafood allergy, the protein in the steam may present a risk.

Salmon, tuna and halibut are the most common kinds of fish to which people are allergic, Lempert says.

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network says those allergic to seafood should always read ingredient labels to identify fish ingredients. Some unexpected sources include salad dressing, Worcestershire sauce, dressings, bouillabaisse, imitation fish or shellfish, meatloaf, fish sticks and barbecue sauce, Lempert says.

"If you have seafood allergy, you should avoid seafood restaurants," Lempert says in a statement. "Even if you order a non-seafood item, cross-contact with seafood is possible. Asian restaurants often use fish sauce as a flavoring base so exercise caution or avoid these restaurants."

Carrageenan -- a red marine algae -- does not need to be avoided because it is not fish. It is actually "Irish moss," used in many foods as an emulsifier, stabilizer and thickener, Lempert says.

Topics: Phil Lempert
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