Environment It’s not cricket for allergies

It’s not cricket for allergies

Eating insects could be a real bug-ger for people living with shellfish allergies, according to a new study.

About two billion people around the world already eat insects on a daily basis, and sustainability scientists hope more insect protein consumption will help the planet.

But a research team headed by Edith Cowan University has tested food products made from crickets and identified 20 proteins which could cause serious allergic reactions for some people.

The project was led by Professor Michelle Colgrave from ECU’s School of Science and the CSIRO.

“This research showed a significant overlap in allergenic proteins found in cricket food products and those found in shellfish like crabs and prawns,” Professor Colgrave said.

“That’s because crickets, mealworms and other insects are closely related to crustaceans.”

“Shellfish allergies affect up to three per cent of people globally, but varies according to age and region, and there’s a good chance that people allergic to shellfish will also react to insects.”

Professor Colgrave said that being an allergen does not prevent insects being used as a food source, but it does mean that insect-based foods need to be tested and labelled correctly to ensure people with allergies don’t unwittingly eat them.

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