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Imitation Crab Meat – Avoid Most Brands (but I found one that is good!)

Imitation Crab

If you read my recent newsletter, Beaver Nasty Bits, you may think that my goal is to gross you out.

No, my intention is to put a spotlight on Big Food and show you what goes on behind the factory food curtain.

I always thought Imitation Crab was just white fish, but when I inspected the ingredients on Louis Kemp I was surprised how highly processed their product is.


Think about imitation crab and imitation lobster.

Is it just white fish chopped up?

Pollock fish is processed into frozen blocks and shipped over to companies like Louis Kemp. In the fake crab factory the frozen blocks of fish are chopped.

Other ingredients are added to make a fish slurry paste for easy fake crab making. The slurry is squirted into thin sheets, cut into strips and bundled like rope or string cheese. Some of the goo is dyed red, so they can paint a strip on the imitation crab slurry sheet, making it look real.

Some brands include GLUTEN and GMO ingredients.

Ingredients include sugar, sorbitol, salt, artificial crab-like flavor, wheat, GMO soy/corn, MSG containing artificial flavors/yeast extract/hydrolyzed soy protein/carrageenan, red color added (sometimes food processors use carmine squashed red bugs, see my post).

TransOcean products have gluten-free options for imitation crab.

It is convenient and more affordable than crab meat, but there are so many artificial, inflammatory and highly processed ingredients that I recommend avoiding most brands of imitation crab.

Having said that, I have heard from a reader with shellfish allergies asking for more information on options. 

This original post was several years old. I was happy to see that TransOcean has improved the ingredients in imitation crab and their product is called Simply Surimi.


Is Imitation Crab an option for those with shellfish allergies?

I would avoid most brands of imitation crab, unless you can verify the ingredients. Louis Kemp and Trans-Ocean packages state, “Contains:  Crustacean Shellfish (Snow Crab, Swimming Crab, King Crab, Blue Crab, and/or Lobster).” Simply Surimi appears to be crustacean free!

Finally! Here is a good option – Simply Surimi. 

shrimp-simply-surimi-flake shrimp-simply-surimi-stick

A breakthrough new surimi seafood product made using

  • NO GMOs, added phosphates, artificial colors or flavors.
  • Certified gluten-free and
  • certified sustainable by MSC snacks and hot dishes with Simply Surimi.



Alaskan Pollock, Pea Starch, Cane Sugar, Sea Salt, Oat Fiber, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride and the red color is from Lycopene from tomato.

Available at Kroger, Fresh Thyme, Albertson’s, Mariano’s, SafeWay and more.

Crab Cake Recipes

Make crab or salmon cakes with fresh seafood or wild caught canned crab or salmon for a delicious and affordable meal.

salmon cakes...

Try these fabulous recipes

Recipe for Crab Cake Eggs Benedict

Salmon Cakes with Cilantro Lime Avocado Dip (Autoimmune Paleo)


Try  Wild Planet canned seafood – so many delicious, fresh-tasting options, even pop-top for easy lunches at school and work.


Real food is available and worth the effort!