Serving Customers with Fish and Shellfish Allergies


When preparing meals for guests with fish or shellfish allergies, it is important that cross-contact be avoided on all preparation and cooking surfaces. Cooked dishes are also a source of concern. Steam rising from cooked fish and shellfish can cause an allergic reaction in sensitive guests. So it is important to take care when serving meals that contain cooked fish.

Types of Shellfish

There are two different types of shellfish, that need to be avoided in ingredients as well. Each type contains several different species that can cause a reaction in guests with a shellfish allergy.


  • Abalone
  • Mussel
  • Scallop
  • Clam
  • Oyster
  • Snail (Escargot)
  • Cockle
  • Octopus
  • Squid (Calamari)


  • Shrimp
  • Crawfish
  • Crab
  • Lobster

Common Ingredients and Foods that Contain Fish or Shellfish

When preparing meals for customers with shellfish allergies read labels and avoid these common ingredients that may contain proteins:

Foods with Fish

  • Ethnic Foods
  • Caesar Salad/Dressing
  • Surimi (Artificial Crab Meat)
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Caponata (Sicilian Eggplant Relish)

Foods with Shellfish

  • Bouillabaisse
  • Fish Flavoring
  • Sumiri
  • Fish Stock
  • Seafood Flavoring

Use Separate Fryer Vats

A commonly overlooked source of cross-contact with regards to shellfish is the commercial fryer. It is important to remember that food proteins are not killed by cooking. So using the same fryer vat to cook fish and other products will result in protein transfer and can cause an allergic reaction.


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