Choose Your Shrimp Wisely
If you think that shrimp is being harvested off US shores and brought, fresh, into market – Forrest Gump style – you’re being misled.
Today, the vast majority of shrimp (over 90 percent) come from industrial shrimp farms off the coasts of Thailand, Vietnam, Ecuador, Mexico and other countries, which are plagued with the same problems as land-based confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
Crowded shrimp are sick shrimp
With millions of shrimp crammed together in ponds, diseases can run rampant.
Chances are, the delicious shrimp cocktail you’re splurging on is loaded with antibiotics and chemicals because that‚ what goes into the cramped, dirty ponds made to mass-produce shrimp.
In an attempt to stave off disease, shrimp in many foreign farms are given daily doses of antibiotics.
It is illegal to use antibiotics in U.S. shrimp farms, but because most of the shrimp eaten in the United States is produced elsewhere, this law does little to protect most consumers.
Bacteria Fight Back
A population of bacteria repeatedly exposed to an antibiotic can develop antibiotic resistance, the ability to survive even in the presence of the drug. This means that a person infected with bacteria resistant to penicillin, for example, could take the drug indefinitely without getting better.
And then there is the risk of consuming shrimp that still have antibiotic residues in their flesh.
Even common drugs that are generally considered safe can be deadly for those with serious allergies. In fact, 2 to 5 percent of hospitalizations are caused by allergic reactions to antibiotics. Most concerning is the use of penicillin-like drugs in aquaculture. Penicillins cause more fatal allergic reactions than any other group of antibiotics. here is no warning label to inform consumers that their shrimp could contain penicillin residues.
Let’s kill off the rest with pesticides
Shrimp producers often use large quantities of chemicals to kill fish, mollusks, fungi, plants, in-sects and parasites in their ponds. Some of these chemicals can remain in the shrimp, which is then served to consumers, potentially causing human health impacts.
The cumulative effects of pesticide consumption, including cancer and neurological damage, develop slowly.
Shrimp tops the list of imported seafood that has been found to have residues of pesticides and other chemicals that we’ve banned in the U.S.
The U.S. inspects less than 2 percent of all these shrimp imports!
Additional problems with Farmed Shrimp
Filthy transportation, environmental and social consequences, mangrove ecosystem destruction, wild fish population decline, water pollution, labor rights violations are a few more of the devastating effects of farmed shrimp industry.
Note: Article was sourced from Food and Water Watch
BareFood Angel’s closing words:
Fish has always been the best source for the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, but as levels of pollution have increased, this health treasure of a food has become less and less viable as a primary source of beneficial fats.
Most major waterways in the world are contaminated with mercury, heavy metals, and chemicals like dioxins, PCBs, and other agricultural chemicals that wind up in the environment.
The current model of foreign industrial shrimp production – often heavily reliant on antibiotics, pesticides, and crowded conditions – is unsustainable and unhealthy.
Some imports are from places like Vietnam and Mexico. If you wouldn’t drink the water in those places, do you really want your seafood packed in ice made from it?
If you’re a dedicated shrimp lover, there are still some options that can keep safe shrimp on your plate.
Experts recommend these wild-caught varieties:
- U.S. or Canadian Atlantic wild northern shrimp
- Pink shrimp from Oregon
- U.S. wild rock shrimp
- Spot prawns from Canada (British Columbia)
I will only purchase from a trustworthy providers.
- Purchase online through Vital Choice *
I love their Jumbo Shrimp called Spot Prawns.
Randy Hartnell, founder-president of Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics, spent more than 20 years as a commercial fisherman before forming his company in 2001, which features some of the most amazing tasting sustainably raised shrimp that are particularly low in heavy metals and none of their seafood has gone through irradiation.
• Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Sea Food Selector is a useful guide when going to a restaurant or choosing your seafood over the counter for sustainable fish and its contaminant levels (doesn’t rate for irradiation). EDF’s scientists analyze many aspects of wild fisheries and fish farming operations for more than 200 types of seafood frequently sold in the U.S. market (for details, see our eco-rating methodology). The scientists collect the latest information on omega-3s and mercury in seafood to provide the best recommendations possible.
Monterey Bay’s SeaFood Watch recently took off its rating of contaminants.
For more on this subject, see the chart for recommended sources of sustainable foods.
* To help my customers, I have set up an account with Vital Choice. New customers will save 10% on purchases. Free shipping for order over $99
I earn a small commission if you use the links in this article to purchase the products I mentioned. I only recommend products I would use myself or that I use with my clients. Your purchase helps support this site and my ongoing research.
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