Information for Restauranteurs and Food Service Operators - Kamaboko Products

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Processed foods that are made from a paste of fish flesh and are cooked, flavored, shaped, and colored to look like other kinds of seafood are known as "kamaboko". These products can be made to closely resemble more expensive seafoods, such as crab legs, shrimp, or scallops.

Since kamaboko products usually cost less than the foods they imitate, when you serve a kamaboko product, you must be sure to let customers know that it is an imitation. It must not be called by the name of the food it resembles. For example, if you serve a kamaboko product that looks like crab claws, your menu should advertise it as "imitation crab claws" or as "simulated crab claws" to show that the food is only a likeness. The menu must not list this kamaboko product simply as "crab claws"

You must also be truthful when using kamaboko products in other foods, like salads. For example, a salad made with 100% crabmeat can be called "crabmeat salad". However, if it contains kamaboko as well as crabmeat, it must be called by an appropriate name which will indicate this fact, such as "crabmeat and seafood salad". If it is made without any crabmeat, it could be called "crab-flavoured seafood salad" or some other term to show that no real crabmeat is present.

Serious problems can also arise from misrepresenting kamaboko products because some people are allergic to fish, but not to other seafoods. If these people order a food they believe to be crab claws, and it contains kamaboko, they can become seriously ill. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has received complaints from restaurant customers who become ill after eating kamaboko products that they had thought were shellfish.

If you serve kamaboko products and are not sure how to describe them, you can check the labelling on the container in which they were received, as the shipping container must be clearly labelled with a description of the food.

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