Don't Be Fooled ... Educate Yourself

Posted by Jimmy Crabbe on

Don't be fooled by restaurants, grocery stores and seafood purveyors that are selling colossal crab meat & "Maryland Crab Cakes".  Educate yourself on the difference between the superior local blue crab meat and the inferior tasting, and sometimes unsanitary and unsafe, foreign crab meat. 

In 2018 there was an example of unsafe products being sold in Maryland. A vibrio infection outbreak (vibrio causes diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, and fever in those affected) was caused by Venezuelan crab meat.  The Maryland Dept. of Health then issued advisories to consumers to not buy Venezuelan crab meat.  North Carolina found formaldehyde in one quarter of imported seafood samples. Imported farm raised seafood has been found to contain pesticides, heavy metal contaminents,  and banned antibiotics.  No not all of these incidents pertained specifically to crab meat, but given that it happens in other types of seafood do you want to take the chance that what you're buying is not contaminated?

Callinectes Sapidus aka "Beautiful Swimmers" (crab meat pictured below on left side) is the crab species we all know and love that is native to the Chesapeake Bay, western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Portunus Pelagicus, or blue swimming crab, (pictured below on the right) is a species of crab imported from Asia that is often contained in "Maryland crab cakes" especially, and almost always, in those hugh softball size crab cakes you see everywhere.

Notice the rust colored tips to the jumbo lump (on the right)? This is a sure sign you are getting imported crab meat.  A very bright white color can also be a sign of foreign meat.  Some overseas plants will even bleach the meat to make it appear white. Yuck!

crab meat compare

Local crab meat comes in claw, special or lump, backfin, and jumbo lump.  That's it.  A colossal lump designation on the lid or can is a sure sign it is foreign or a deceptive marketing ploy. 

Support your local watermen and women and the crab industry.  Buy local!!

Want to try a place using local crab meat in Maryland?  Well one good place is Harris Crab House at Kent Narrows on Maryland's Eastern Shore.



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