According to newest reports, it appears that the imported shellfish we eat may be full of prohibited antibiotics, rat hair, and salmonella. Oh, no! Shrimp is without doubt one of the most popular seafood in the US; however, 90 percent of it has been imported and only 2 percent of this is tested by the regulatory agencies.
Unfortunately, this shrimp may contain all kinds of disgusting and harmful substances, from chemicals and pesticides to cockroaches! The reasons for this are the highly dirty conditions in which farmed fish are raised in Asia.
We’re Eating Dirt?
Sadly, imported shrimp doesn’t just pack you with banned antibiotics, but a wide amount of other contaminants like chemical residues, rat hair, insect pieces, and more, according to the Director of the Fish Program at the Non-Profit Food and Water Watch, Marianne Cufone.
They also contain E. coli and salmonella and imported shrimp is so dirty that it 26 to 35 percent of the shipments aren’t accepted because of the high dirt presence, say the Food & Water Watch.
The Packages Are also Dangerous
According to a report from November 2012 issue of the magazine Bloomberg, shrimp are packaged and shipped in terrible conditions.
Namely, at a facility in Vietnam, the reporters of the magazine discovered floors full of garbage, flies flying around, and shrimp being stored at improper temperatures.
The shrimp was packed in ice from local tap water that public health authorities warn that it needs to be boiled prior to use due to microbial contamination. This potentially exposes the shrimp and those who consume it to bacterial contamination.
Bloomberg noted that the inspectors of the FDA have rejected 1,380 loads of Vietnamese seafood since the year of 2007 due to filth and salmonella.
They Can also Cause Cancer?
In a report from 2011 by the Government Accountability Office, the FDA tested 0.1 of the imported seafood for residue of chemicals. The agency missed in those untested 99.0 percent a high level of banned antibiotics that may be cancerous.
According to a recent testing of 30 shrimp samples bought from grocery stores performed by scientists from the Texas Tech University’s Institute of Environmental and Human Health, two samples of farm-raised Indian and Thai shrimp contained nitrofuranzone.
This is an antibiotic which is a known carcinogen and the levels were 28 and 29 times higher than the FDA limit.
What’s more, chloramphenical, another antibiotic, was also discovered at 150 higher level than the permitted limit. This antibiotic is prohibited in US food production due to serious side effects like leukemia and aplastic anemia!
So, Should You Stop Eating Shrimp?
According to the author of the study and professor of environmental toxicology, Todd Anderson, a single exposure to imported shrimp will probably not cause problems; chronic exposure is what they worry about the most.
What about Domestic Shrimp?
By now, you probably think ‘Okay, I’ll eat domestic shrimp’; however, they may not be the best replacement due to possible oil tainting.
Namely, the US market of wild shrimp was seriously hit after the 2010 BP oil spill which closed down dozens of fisheries in the Mexican gulf for a whole year.
The population of shrimp there is still recovering; however, money has been given to a seafood-testing program for oil and Corexit residue, a chemical dispersant which was used during the spill.
According to Natural Resources Defense Council, a non-profit organization, the residue limits for Corexit and oil established by the government are not sufficiently low to keep pregnant women and their babies safe.
In case you’re pregnant, opt for US shrimp from the Pacific Northwest, available from an established retailer of seafood Vital Choice.