FDA Warns, Don’t Eat Cicadas If You Are Allergic To Shellfish
In case, you are about to say, “I’ll have the cicadas,” at a restaurant or open your mouth too wide around Brood X, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a warning for you.
That warning came in the form of a tweet on June 2, which happens to be National Leave the Office Early Day. That tweet said: “Yep! We have to say it! Don’t eat #cicadas if you’re allergic to seafood as these insects share a family relation to shrimp and lobsters.” In other words, cicadas may be a little bit shellfish, so to speak, when it comes to causing a reaction in your body. So, if you are leaving the office early to get some cicada stew, if you are in the mood for some Brood X, heed the following warning:
Before you say, “there goes breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” you may want to double-check if you indeed have a seafood allergy. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) calls shellfish one of the most common food allergens. But keep in mind that a shellfish allergy ain’t the same as a fish allergy. Just because you are allergic to tuna, halibut, salmon, or other finned fish doesn’t necessary mean that you are allergic to shellfish and vice versa.
The most common shellfish culprits are the crustaceans such as shrimp, lobster and crab. But mollusks can cause problems too. Symptoms may include hives, nausea, indigestion, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, throat tightness, and respiratory symptoms like shortness of breath, cough, or wheezing. They can range from mild symptoms to a severe whole body reaction called anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition that typically requires epinephrine treatment as soon as possible.
Why did the FDA choose to warn about cicadas? Well, as you may have heard, cicadas are kind of getting it on right now. For the past 17 years, trillions of cicada nymphs have been staying underground throughout the Eastern and Midwestern parts of the U.S. But last month and this month, this so-called “Brood X” of cicadas has been emerging from the ground, shedding their skins, basically saying, “those skins would look great on my bedroom floor,” and mating like there’s no tomorrow. Because literally for them there will soon be no tomorrow. The cicadas pass away not too long after doing the deed.
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The presence of so many cicadas has prompted the re-emergence of various cicada dishes such as the chocolate covered cicada, crispy wok tossed cicada, cica-delicious pizza, and emergence cookie recipes provided by Joey Morona for cleveland.com. The recipes are fairly straightforward. For example, the chocolate covered cicadas are basically lots of chocolate and dry-roasted cicadas. In theory, cicadas could be added to lots of different things like avocado and cicada toast or hot cicada dogs.
Just make sure that you aren’t allergic to seafood or see cicada food. If you are, keep cicadas away from your mouth. In fact, be careful about anything that may have touched cicadas because the allergens from cicadas could be deposited on whatever they may touch. So for the time being, “are there cicadas in it,” may not be such an unusual question.