Tips for Life With a Fish Allergy

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on October 26, 2020

If you’re allergic to one kind of fish, your doctor may have told you to avoid others. Here’s what to look out for.

Surprising Sources of Fish

These foods may contain anchovies:

  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Barbecue sauces made with Worcestershire
  • Caesar salad and Caesar dressing
  • Caponata (Sicilian eggplant relish)

Other foods that have fish:

  • Caviar and fish roe (fish eggs)
  • Artificial fish like surimi, an imitation crabmeat sometimes used in sushi
  • Fish sauce, oils, and gelatin

4 Easy Ways to Avoid Fish

Stay out of seafood restaurants. Even if you order the beef, bits of fish from a shared spatula, cooking oil, or grill can get in your food. That kind of cross-contact can happen in any place that uses a lot of fish or fish ingredients, including many ethnic restaurants.

Don't shop for or cook fish. Let someone else do it. You may have a reaction just from touching it or being in an area where someone is cooking it.

Ask your doctor if any fish or shellfish is safe to eat. Don't try out any kinds on your own, though. That could cause severe allergic reactions.

Read labels. Other foods -- as well as lotions, cosmetics, and medicine -- may have fish in them.

WebMD Medical Reference



Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Seafood Allergy."

Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network: "Fish."

Food Allergy Initiative: "Fish Allergy."

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