Farmed Shrimp

It’s hard not to love seafood, especially during the summer when the weather is warm, and a refreshing shrimp cocktail or ceviche by the beach can revive you and your tastebuds. But we rarely stop to think about if the food we’re consuming is actually safe for us to eat, and this includes shrimp.

Information about the shrimp we purchase is rarely accessible, which is unfortunate, especially now that disease, antibiotics and environmental factors are impacting the shrimp industry. While wild shrimp is a great healthy form of protein that is low in calories, this is not the case when it comes to farmed shrimp that is unhealthy and toxic. Here are seven reasons to avoid eating farmed shrimp.

7. Imported Shrimp

Imported Shrimp

In 2006, more than 90 percent of shrimp we ate was imported, according to a report from Food & Water. The leading exporter was Thailand, followed by Ecuador, Indonesia, China, Mexico, and Vietnam. There is no way of identifying where the shrimp was produced, and nearly 50 percent of the shrimp in grocery stores has no label, since U.S. labeling requirements do not mandate labels for shrimp.

6. Poor Conditions

Poor Conditions

Since shrimp farms try to meet the large demand for shrimp, the water is therefore overcrowded with shrimp, which quickly becomes polluted with waste that can infect the shrimp with disease and parasites. To try and resolve this issue, shrimp farmers are using large quantities of antibiotics, disinfectants, and pesticides that are illegal in the U.S.

Related: Is Farmed Salmon Toxic?

5. Misrepresented Shrimp


In a 2014 study conducted by Oceana, shrimp was often found to be misrepresented, and consumers were not given the correct information about where the shrimp came from or if it was wild-caught or farmed. Researchers also found that 30 percent of the 143 shrimp products tested from 111 vendors visited nationwide were misrepresented, and 35 percent of those 111 vendors sold shrimp.

4. Antibiotics and Chemicals


A large percentage of the shrimp that Americans consume is from places that have no restrictions on illegal contaminants such as dioxins, PCBs and other banned chemicals. Common antibiotics given include oxytetracycline and ciprofloxacin, which are both used to treat human infections and can also increase the risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

3. Shrimp Farming

Shrimp Farming

Farmed shrimp commonly requires up to three pounds of wild-caught fish to feed and produce a single pound of farmed shrimp, which in turn has caused fish numbers to significantly plummet. Not to mention, shrimp farming is also incredibly detrimental to coastal lowlands. According to research published in Environmental Management in 2001, about 2.5 million to 3.75 million acres of coastal lowlands have been transformed into shrimp ponds, which in turn has compromised salt flats, mangroves, marshes and agricultural lands.

2. Xenoestrogens


A preservative used for shrimp is 4-hexylresorcinol, which is used to prevent the shrimp from becoming discolored. Research published by the American Chemical Society discovered that xenoestrogen has estrogen-like effects that have been shown to put women at a high risk of breast cancer and reduce sperm counts in men.

1. Labor Practices

Peeling Shrimp

In an Associated Press investigation, reporters uncovered a slavery network in Samut Sakhon, Thailand, dedicated to peeling shrimp sold around the world. The AP found that the shrimp peeled by the slaves was reaching the U.S., Europe, and Asia. AP reporters traced the shrimp sold throughout U.S. supermarkets and found shrimp products from tainted supply chains.

Related: Organic Chinese Produce found Highly Contaminated


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