Surimi & Pregnancy
You likely pay more attention to what you eat now than before you got pregnant, and you should. The foods you eat while pregnant play a vital role in the health and development of your unborn baby. Certain foods should also be off limits because they can get in the way of proper growth. Fish is one concern because many species are high in mercury, which can impact your baby's nervous system. If you enjoy surimi, carefully consider if it has a place in your pregnancy diet.
Surimi means formed fish. Surimi is a paste made from fish, and then formed to resemble other seafood, such as crab legs or chunks of lobster. The fish product is made by removing the skin and bones from a fish, rinsing it several times and then grinding it into a paste. The paste is combined with flavor enhancers to give it the taste of certain types of seafood. It is also colored to give it the appearance of other types of seafood. Most surimi sold in North America is made from pollack, a type of white fish.
It is important to monitor what foods you eat while you are pregnant, particularly fish. While fish supplies you with essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins, certain types can pose a danger to your unborn baby. Because surimi is usually made from pollack, a low-mercury fish, it is considered safe for you to eat while you are pregnant. Surimi is also an ingredient in certain kinds of sushi, and can be safely eaten as long as the other ingredients are also cooked.
Mercury is a contaminant found in certain species of fish, and can negatively impact the brain and nervous system development of your unborn baby. While most surimi is safe to consume during pregnancy, types made in other countries, or from different kinds of fish, may not be. Always read the ingredient list on surimi to determine what type of fish it is made from. Avoid products with swordfish, shark, king mackerel, tilefish, marlin and orange roughy. Real crab, lobster and shrimp are low in mercury and you can safely eat them twice a week during pregnancy. This is an alternative if you are not sure about the ingredients in your surimi.
Do not each undercooked surimi. Fish that has not been cooked properly can harbor bacteria, such as listeria, that can pose a health danger to you and your unborn baby. Toss any surimi that has been opened for longer than three days because it might also begin to grow harmful bacteria. If you eat surimi at a restaurant, ask the manager or chef what it is made from before you order it. Also note that there is no way to know how old the product is before it is served to you.
- American Pregnancy Association: Mercury Levels in Fish
- Feed the Belly: The Pregnant Mom's Healthy Eating Guide; Frances Largeman-Roth