Don't Eat Cicadas If You Have This Common Food Allergy

As the cicada swarm known as Brood X emerges from the ground, pet owners have had to closely monitor their dogs and cats to make sure they don't gorge too heavily on these insects in hard-hit areas (via CNN). Animals of all shapes and sizes have taken advantage of the cicada swarm, enjoying the bounty of plentiful food. The abundance of insects comes as a blessing to anyone looking to engage in an alternative protein source. According to Wired, people have begun foraging the insects and have enjoyed cooking them up at home.

American chefs have even joined in on the fun. Frank's Red Hot sauce recently published a cookbook showcasing a handful of ways to enjoy cooking up the surplus of cicadas, spanning everything from snacks, appetizers, and beverages (via The Takeout). Fan groups that promote the consumption of insects have also jumped aboard this trend, making waves with their unique takes on preparing cicadas (via BBC). While these recipes range from the delicious to the grotesque, some of us should stay far away from these treats.

A trigger for a common allergy

Scientists have studied allergies around meat, eggs, nuts, and milk for generations, but few have closely looked at the allergies triggered by consuming insects (via NBC). If you want to get your hands on some chocolate-coated cicadas but have a seafood allergy, you specifically need to play it safe. Due to cicadas' physiology closely resembling that of shellfish, anyone who has issues eating shrimp, crab, lobsters, and any other hard-shelled seafood should stay far away from these insect snacks, or else they might trigger their allergy. The issue stems from a protein seen in both types of animals that has the potential to do some serious damage.

If you feel tempted to join in with adventurous eaters and partake in some of Brood X, just make sure you don't currently face any issues when you hit seafood restaurants. Even cross-contamination could pose a threat if you come in contact with food touched by cicadas, so make sure to stay vigilant next time you visit an eatery that serves up these specialties. After the swarm comes to an end, America should end up with a ton of recipes that takes advantage of this crispy snack, and with any luck, scientists might even know more about the nutritional data behind cicadas.