Lobster Allergy Test
Latin name: Homarus gammarus
Source material: Lobster meat
Lobster is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
NB: Clawed lobsters are not closely related to spiny lobsters or slipper lobsters.
Lobster Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Lobster is a large marine crustacean, related to crabs and crayfish. They are a highly prized seafood species, and are one of the most expensive by weight. Lobster became popular as a food in North America around the middle of the 19th century, prior to which it was considered suitable only for poor or imprisoned people.
Lobsters caught for food are separated into three grades, new-shell, hard-shell, or old-shell.
New shell lobsters have recently shed their shell, and provide less meat, but the meat is sweeter and more delicate in flavour, and therefore sought after. They cannot survive long distance transport, so are consumed only in the immediate vicinity of the fishing towns where they are landed.
Hard-shell lobsters can be shipped long distance by land, for example across the United States. Old shell lobsters are the hardiest, and can be air-shipped internationally, which means they command the highest price.
Lobsters are generally boiled or steamed, either alive, or being killed immediately before cooking. Popular recipes which feature this crustacean include lobster Newberg (an American seafood dish made from lobster, butter, cream, cognac, sherry, eggs, and Cayenne pepper) and lobster Thermidor (a French dish consisting of a creamy mixture of cooked lobster meat, egg yolks, and brand, served in a lobster shell).
Lobster also features in a range of soups, bisques, stews, chowders, fishcakes and lobster rolls.
Lobster meat is often served with clarified butter, which enhances its delicate flavour. The meat is a popular addition to salads and pasta dishes, and lobster is also served alongside steak in a dish known as “surf and turf”.
Lobster Allergy Test: Allergen Description
No specific allergens present in lobster have been characterised to date, although a number of proteins have been identified.
Lobster Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
Cross reactivity between lobster and shrimp, crayfish and crab has been demonstrated.
Lobster Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Shellfish is one of the more common food allergies, and usually persists throughout the patient’s lifetime. The majority of people (around 60%) of shellfish-allergic people experience their first allergic reaction as adults.
Within the shellfish family, the crustacean group (shrimp, crayfish, lobster and crab) causes the greatest number of allergic reactions.
Reactions can potentially affect the skin, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract and/or cardiovascular system. Symptoms can be severe and potentially life-threatening, including anaphylaxis. Even very small amounts of shellfish can provoke a reaction.
Skin sensitivity to lobster has been reported.
Exposure to the steam from cooking shellfish has been reported to cause an allergic reaction in some cases, due to the presence of allergenic proteins in the steam.
Shellfish poisoning is a potential consequence of ingesting shellfish contaminated with any one of a number of toxins. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea; chills, fever or headache; conjunctival irritation, sneezing and rhinorrhea and even paralysis.