Is your favorite shrimp dish packed with sewage and illegal drugs?
Food & Water Watch is an advocacy group that targets this topic, and they say that more than 9 out of 10 fish Americans consume are imported. Half of all imported fish and seafood come from fish farms.
Shrimp is the most commonly consumed seafood in our country, and foreign producers would do anything to meet the demand.
Information obtained from a shrimp industry news source confirms that a low-density shrimp farm can produce 500 to 5,000 kilograms per hectare each year. Super-intensive shrimp farming provides 100,000 kilograms per hectare each year. That’s why shrimp is known as “pink gold.”
‘Intensive production” and “healthy growing environment” don’t go in the same sentence, because crowded shrimp are sick and packed with medication.
Experts explain that an intensive shrimp operation lasts for seven years before ponds become too polluted for shrimp to survive. Farmed shrimp are full of antibiotics, pesticides and drug-resistant pathogens.
Chemicals are used to kill fish, mollusks, fungi, plants, insects and parasites. Believe it or not, you ingest part of these chemicals.
To build shrimp farms, producers destroy mangrove forests and other parts of the tropical coastline.
Where was your shrimp produced?
The federal Country of Origin Labeling Law requires that labels on fresh seafood contain information about the origin. Well, 50 percent of the shrimp sold in grocery stores have no label. They are usually processed. Small stores don’t label their shrimp, too.
The Government Accountability Office has some useful information.
In 2010, our country imported over 916 million pounds of seafood from Thailand. Thai officials have no agreement with the FDA in terms of food safety, and our government can’t guarantee the quality and safety of our seafood.
The same applies to Ecuador. The country can sell seafood to facilities in countries where Ecuadorian government certification isn’t required. In other words, the US can import unhealthy seafood from Ecuador. In 2010, we imported 243 million pounds of seafood from this country.
In the same year, the US imported 275 million pounds of seafood from Indonesia. The FDA and Indonesian officials don’t communicate on products the FDA has rejected to import. Indonesian officials learn that their product has been rejected after 2-3 months.
Wild-caught fish and seafood
Tests conducted by Consumer Reports confirm that wild shrimp from US waters are least likely to contain bacteria and chemicals. But, this may cause additional environmental risk.
According to this report, 1-3 pounds of other species are caught up in shrimp nets and killed for every pound of wild-caught shrimp. Buy shrimp certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as it has a Blue Fish Label. This label confirms the seafood comes from fisheries meeting the Council’s sustainability standards.