Fish must be declared as an allergenic ingredient in food products in accordance with the EU Directive (EC 1829/2003 and EC 1830/2002).
Fish also belongs to the eight allergens that must be declared in the USA and many other countries. The biodiversity in the oceans is immense and the overall number of species is not even known. Fish allergies vary substantially depending on the region; people who live in coastal regions, where seafood is consumed more frequently, are more affected than people in the interior of the country. Therefore, general risk management is difficult.
Fish allergy is a wide spread food allergy in both children and adults. It is mostly caused by the protein parvalbumin, a very potent allergen that is found in many types of fish. The DNA of bony fishes can be detected in food by means of real-time PCR. This helps reliably identify fish as an allergen. In addition, it is possible to differentiate between the individual types of fish in order to prove possible food fraud (product line Animal ID).