Chinese scientists may have found a way for people who suffer from seafood allergies to eat prawns without the fear of an adverse allergic reaction.

The Ocean University of China in Qingdao has found that treating prawns with a combination of heat and irradiation significantly reduces the level of reactive allergen proteins found in the food. They took blood from patients with shrimp allergies, added samples of treated and untreated prawn, and measured how antibodies in the blood reacted: levels of 'Pen a 1', one of the major allergens, decreased 20-fold after treatment.

The American Society of Chemical Industry said the method was important because the scientists removed the allergy-causing protein without resorting to genetic manipulation.