US FDA Says Avoid Eating Cicadas ‘If You Are Allergic To Shellfish’

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Cicadas may seem like a crunchy, protein-packed snack, but people with shellfish allergies should think twice about eating them, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

“We have to say it”, the FDA he said in a tweet Wednesday. “Do not eat #cicada if you are allergic to shellfish, as these insects share a family relationship with shrimp and lobsters.”

The noisy, cacophonous critters first emerged in May on the East Coast as part of “Brood X,” which comes out every 17 years, according to the National Park Service. The agency says the breeding is centered in Pennsylvania, northern Virginia, Indiana and eastern Tennessee.

For some, the emergence of the calf is an impressive experience, worthy of glossy cicada photoshoots and endless media profiles. For others, cicadas can be a creepy and inescapable nuisance (a recently crawled over CNN’s Congressional Senior Correspondent Manu Raju during preparations for a live shot.)

Brittle insects can be annoying, but according to the Environmental Protection Agency, cicadas are not harmful to humans, pets, or gardens. However, if they are eaten by cats or dogs, “this may temporarily cause an upset stomach or vomiting, but there is no need to worry if a pet eats a small amount of cicadas.” EPA says.

“Cicadas do not sting or bite. Cicadas are not toxic,” said the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. he said in a tweet at the end of last month. Still, its “crunchy / crunchy exoskeleton can irritate the stomach lining if eaten in large volumes and can be a potential choking hazard, especially for small dogs.”