Imitation crab is popular, convenient and also affordable. Yet is it safe for pregnant ladies to eat? review on to discover out more about this versatile, all set to eat seafood product.

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The usage of pollock, which contains low levels of mercury, in surimi-based assets like imitation crab provides it safe for intake during pregnancy. Imitation crab is likewise already completely cooked prior to packaging, for this reason making it for sure from potential food borne pathogens. However, pregnant women must be vigilant of various other seafood species that can also be offered in make surimi, especially the high-mercury varieties of fish and also mollusks that may cause allergies.

Jesmarie Macapagal, RN, MD, DPPS

This article talks more about what imitation crab is, and how the is manufactured and also prepared. Next, it will discuss the risks of potential allergens present in imitation crab. Lastly, it will carry out the security issues and ways to preserve safety of imitation crab for usage during pregnancy.

Table that Contents
What is Imitation Crab?
risk of allergy from Imitation Crab
safety Issues concerning Consumption that Imitation Crab throughout Pregnancy
just how to store Imitation Crab Safe during Pregnancy
final Thoughts

What is Imitation Crab?

In despite the of that is name, imitation crab contains no crab at all. Rather, that is made of handle fish meat, for this reason the pseudonym “hot dog of the sea”. That is often referred to as “crab stick”, “krab”, or level “surimi”. In Japan, they are also called “kamaboko”.

“Surimi” is a Japanese term for deboned, minced, and washed fish flesh, the is supplied for production imitation seafood commodities (Martin-Sánchez et al., 2009). Surimi fish dough is an intermediate product used in prepare a variety of all set to eat (RTE) seafood products, called surimi-based products (SBPs), marketed in the creates of crab sticks, fish slices, lobster tails, and also others (Ducept et al., 2012).


According come the U.S. FDA Compliance Policy overview (CPG) on handle seafood products (2008), surimi is a fish protein comes from one or an ext fish types that room made to resemble crab meat, shrimp, lobster, scallops, and also other seafood.

Freshly caught Alaskan pollock is the most popularly fish offered in making surimi. The fish is filleted, minced, to wash to remove fat and unwanted parts, climate strained (Hicks, 2016). The raw fish proteins space solubilized in salt then heated to type a surimi hydrogel (Martin-Sánchez et al., 2009).

Salt, sugar, and/or sorbitol are included to stabilize the protein throughout frozen storage. Afterward, the surimi is blended with binders, such together starch or egg white. Synthetic flavoring is included to do it taste like the preferred product (Hicks, 2016). Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is likewise added. Orange or red coloring makes the mixture resemble shellfish meat.

Common additives provided in imitation crab include:

Gums – xanthan gum and also carrageenanColorants – carmine, paprika, beet juice extract, lycopeneMSG and also disodium inosinateCrab extract or man-made crab flavoringsPreservatives – salt benzoate and phosphates

The surimi fish dough is created into the desired shape and also texture, and totally cooked (Hicks, 2016), then vacuum sealed to maintain its freshness.

The main component of the imitation crab is surimi. It renders up 35 come 50 percent of the product’s weight. The continuing to be 50 come 65 percent of one imitation crab is consisted of of the complying with processed ingredients:

Starches – wheat, potato, tapioca, corn; these make the surimi firm and freezableSalt – salt chloride or potassium chloride adds flavor and helps turn the fish meat into a sturdy pasteVegetable oil – improves texture, shelf life and also coloringSugar and sorbitol – add sweetness and assist the product freeze and also thaw easilyEgg white or soy – included for a boost of protein and also to boost texture and also color; also make the imitation crab glossyWater – helps create the wanted texture

The following macronutrients are current in one 85 gram offer of imitation crab and compared to those uncovered in the exact same amount of raw Alaskan king crab:

Imitation CrabAlaskan King Crab
Protein6.48 grams15.6 grams
Fat0.391 gram0.51 gram
Carbohydrate12.8 grams0 gram
Fiber0.425 gram0 gram

Real crab has significantly higher levels the nutrient 보다 imitation crab. While the calories in one Alaskan king crab are derived from proteins, calorie from one imitation crab are derived from included carbohydrates.

Real crab additionally provides a higher amount that vitamins and also minerals, and also is a great source of vitamin B12, selenium and also zinc. Surimi loses this nutrients throughout washing and processing. Although some manufacturers add omega-3 fatty mountain to their imitation crab products, actual crab is still higher in omega-3 fatty mountain content.

Imitation crab has become popular and is commonly used as ingredient in seafood salad, crab cakes, and also California episode rolls.

Learn More: have the right to you eat crab legs while pregnant?

Risk of allergies from Imitation Crab

Alaskan pollock is the key fish varieties used for the production of surimi. However, as result of increasing demand for SBPs and overexploitation the pollock, assorted underutilized fish species are now also being used. Cephalopods, squids in particular, are additionally often used. Therefore, surimi represents a product that could make usage of a wide selection of seafood types (Giusti et al., 2017).

According to the europe Union (EU) legislation on food labelling, the existence of ingredients that may potentially cause allergies must be listed, including fish and mollusks. However, the is no mandatory for manufacturers to administer the commercial or clinical name the the seafood varieties present in SBPs. Hence, the usage of cephalopods might be unlisted and can cause a potential danger for allergic consumer (Giusti et al., 2017).

In 2007, Pepe et al. Concluded the mislabeling amongst SBPs to be “a massive phenomenon”. This study discovered that 84.2 percent that SBPs made usage of seafood varieties that were various from those the were declared on the label.

In 2017, Giusti et al. Examined various SBP products and also found the 37.5 percent of the samples lock took were labeled incorrectly. Among these, 25 percent declared a various species, while one more 25 percent did no report the presence of mollusks on their labels, which deserve to pose a wellness threat because that consumers v potential allergies.

Safety Issues concerning Consumption the Imitation Crab throughout Pregnancy

The U.S. Food and also Drug administration (US FDA) recommends that pregnant women stop eating shark, swordfish, mackerel and tilefish due to the fact that these fish frequently harbor high levels of mercury.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin and also is may be to cross the placenta. It has the potential come cause far-ranging damage to the emerging fetal nervous device (Evans, 2002). Exposure to mercury throughout pregnancy has been connected with pregnancy complications and also developmental problems among infants (Solan & Lindow, 2014).

Pollock is a low-mercury form of fish. Follow to the us FDA, pollock is just one of the “best choices” because that seafood usage during pregnancy. Therefore, imitation crab deserve to be thought about a seafood dish the is for sure for pregnant women to eat.

However, any type of raw seafood should be avoided during pregnancy. Thus, also if the imitation crab is safe when consumed on its own, it need to not be eaten when placed on optimal of raw episode or stuffed in raw lobster.

Moreover, salt is necessary in the manufacturing of surimi to maintain the gelation the salt-soluble myofibrillar proteins. In ~ present, over there is growing concern to consume healthier foods and also prevent the development of number of chronic conditions caused by unhealthy and high-sodium diet (Monto et al., 2021).

Compared to genuine crab, imitation crab includes a greater amount of sodium. While 3 ounces of genuine crab meat includes 911 milligrams the sodium, the exact same amount of imitation crab meat consists of 715 milligrams of sodium.

How to store Imitation Crab Safe throughout Pregnancy

When buying imitation crab, look because that opaque off-white meat with red shade on the surface. If the product is frozen, there should be no crystals in the package, the would show freeze-thaw problems. When thawed, check that the product is moist and firm, not wet and soft. Carry out not buy any type of product through sour, fermented, or sulfur smells, i beg your pardon would show spoilage (Hicks, 2016).

Always check out the label and also find the end if you room allergic to any ingredient. Stop cross-contamination v raw seafood and also raw meat by preserving sanitary food preparation measures (Hicks, 2016).

Imitation crab should constantly be preserved inside the refrigerator. It must not be left at room temperature for an ext than 1 come 2 hours. When the package has been opened, it should be totally consumed within 3 days.

Final Thoughts

Imitation crab is a processed fish meat made by combine minced fish with starch, egg white, sugar, salt, and additives, come mimic real crab meat. That is less expensive that genuine crab, but is likewise less nutritious.

In terms of safety, imitation crab is not well-known to reason harm, as long as it to be stored properly, made through low-mercury fish, and all ingredients in the dish are fully cooked.

However, if given a choice, pregnant women have to opt for genuine crab rather of an imitation one. Real crab can administer lots of nutrients without additives and included sugar and also salt from an imitation crab.

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Consult your most trusted dietitian or health care provider to know an ext about the safety and security of eating all set to eat handle seafood commodities during pregnancy.

Evans, E. (2002). The FDA recommendations on fish intake throughout pregnancy. Journal that Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal parenting 31(6), 715-720. PMID: 12465868Monto, A. R., Li, M., Wang, X., Wijaya, G. Y., Shi, T., Xiong, Z., …, & Gao, R. (2021). Recent breakthroughs in maintaining gel properties of surimi commodities under decreased salt conditions and use of additives. Critical reviews in Food Science and also Nutrition 1-16. Doi: 10.1080/10408398.2021Pepe, T., Trotta, M., Di Marco, I., Anastasio, A., Bautista, J. M., & Cortesi, M. L. (2007). Fish varieties identification in surimi-based products. Journal of agricultural and Food Chemistry 55(9), 3681-3685. Doi: 10.1021/jf063321oSolan, T. D., & Lindow, S. (2014). Mercury exposure in pregnancy: A review. Journal the Perinatal medication 42(6), 725-729. Doi: 10.1515/jpm-2013-0349