Seafood allergies? If so, let someone else crunch on cicadas

The raucous Brood X cicadas have shown up in tacos, battered and fried, and even covered in chocolate.

But if you are allergic to some kinds of seafood, you may want to think twice before taking a bite of the noisy, flying critters.

Both the Food and Drug Administration and a local insect expert warn: if you’re allergic to shrimp or prawn don’t eat cicadas.

Michael Raupp, Paula Shrewsbury

Mike Raupp explained that cicada outer skeletons share some characteristics with shrimp and prawns. (AP)Mike Raupp is a professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Entomology. He studies insects.

“Many people may want to try eating cicadas as a delicacy,” he said. “However, if you’re allergic to shrimp or prawn, you probably don’t want to snack on cicadas.”

The FDA warned that there is a family link between some types of seafood and cicadas.

Raupp explained why.

“Shrimp, prawn and also cicadas are all arthropods, and have an exoskeleton,” Raupp said. “The allergen found in the exoskeleton of shrimp and prawn is likely to be the same allergen found in the exoskeleton or the shell of a cicada.”

Better safe than sick, after all.

The food and agricultural organization of the United Nations said is not certain that those with shellfish allergies will have a problem, more study is needed. But since shrimp and prawn allergies are well known, it’s better to be cautious before nibbling on foods made with cicada parts — or crunching one whole.

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