June 4, 2021 -- With the rise of Brood X cicadas across the eastern U.S. this summer, recipes have popped up online, including spicy popcorn cicadas and chocolate-covered cicadas. If you’re allergic to shellfish, though, you may want to avoid those dishes, the FDA says.

“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,” the FDA posted on Twitter on Wednesday.

The FDA also linked to its food allergies resource to provide more information. Shellfish allergies rank among the most common allergies in the U.S., along with those to milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.

Typical shellfish allergies are linked to crustaceans such as shrimp, lobster, and crab, according to Forbes, as well as mollusks such as oysters, clams, scallops, and squid. Symptoms can include belly cramps, diarrhea, hives, indigestion, nausea, and throat tightness. They range from mild to severe, sometimes leading to a whole-body reaction called anaphylaxis that requires treatment with epinephrine right away.

The Brood X cicadas, which are emerging this year during a regular 17-year cycle, belong to the arthropod group of creatures and are considered relatives of crustaceans. They’re being prepared by professional chefs and amateur foodies in a variety of dishes this year, according to The New York Times.

Cicadas don’t bite or sting and aren’t toxic. They’re gluten-free, high in protein, and low in fat and carbohydrates, according to National Geographic.

Cicadas are considered “edible insects” but could cause allergic reactions in people who have allergies to shellfish because they have similar proteins to crustaceans, The New York Times reported.

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

SOURCES:

Twitter: @US_FDA, June 2, 2021.

FDA: “Food Allergies.”

Forbes: “FDA Warns, Don’t Eat Cicadas If You Are Allergic To Shellfish.”

The New York Times: “Don’t Eat Cicadas if You’re Allergic to Seafood, FDA Warns.”

National Geographic: “Cicada Recipes: Bugs Are Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Food.”

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