Shrimp is one of the most popular seafood choices.
You can buy it inexpensively in bulk or you can get a high-end shrimp cocktail at a fancy restaurant.
You would think that the more expensive the shrimp is, the better its quality, right? But how true is that?
How can you tell if your shrimp is going to benefit your health instead of harm you?
Unfortunately, shrimp labels can leave you wanting for information about the shrimp, but there are a few things you can be aware of when purchasing shrimp.
Shrimp is a protein source that is rich in many vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, niacin, selenium, copper, zinc and choline.
This means shrimp can help the body fight cancer, reduce inflammation, regulate thyroid issues and provide essential antioxidants needed for brain and muscle health.
It is a low-calorie protein that will fill you up and also suppress your appetite.
While wild shrimp has some amazing nutritional benefits, it, like most foods, also has a “bad” side.
Much of the shrimp consumed in the United States is imported from other countries.
The bad part is that you will probably never know which hatchery in which country is selling you your shrimp.
Restaurants are not required to label their seafood and many companies that sell shrimp in stores are able to get around U.S. regulations because of the way the shrimp are combined with other seafood.
Shrimp farms overseas tend to have overcrowded farms which leads to unsuitable farming conditions.
Due to overcrowding (as much as 89,000 pounds of shrimp per acre!), the water can quickly become contaminated with waste, leading to diseased shrimp.
To combat disease, shrimp farmers in Asia, South America and Central America utilize antibiotics, pesticides and disinfectants that shrimp farmers in the U.S. are banned from using.
Some examples include dioxins, PCBs and banned chemicals; antibiotics include ciprofloxacin and oxytetracycline.
The cycle is vicious as research is showing that the antibiotics are becoming less effective, resulting in the use of even stronger antibiotics and disinfectants.
Unfortunately, less than two percent of shrimp that is imported is inspected by the FDA.
Other than the antibiotics used in shrimp farms, a number of chemicals have been found in shrimp farmed overseas.
Organophosphates: These are toxic to the nervous system and have been connected to memory loss, headaches and fetal death.
Rotenone: Used for eliminating fish that lived in the pond prior to shrimp farming.
In a 2011 study, rotenone was linked to Parkinson’s symptoms in mice; it can also cause respiratory paralysis when inhaled.
Malachite Green: This is used as an antifungal on shrimp eggs.
It has been connected to tumors in mice studies.
Organotin Compounds: These compounds are another way that shrimp ponds are shocked to eliminate any other living organisms prior to stocking the pond with shrimp.
They have been shown to disrupt the body’s hormones by mimicking estrogen.
Formaldehyde: This is the only chemical that has an approved version in the U.S. Formalin is a diluted form of formaldehyde, but it has still been listed as a potential carcinogen based on animal studies.
Xenoestrogens: 4-hexylresorcinol is a preservative that is used to help shrimp maintain its color.
The American Chemical Society discovered that it behaves like estrogen in the body, having a negative impact on the reproductive system in both men and women.
It has also been linked to various cancers including lung, breast, pancreas, brain and kidney cancers.
It can take up to three pounds of wild fish to feed one pound of farmed shrimp.
This is not sustainable as the wild fish population in some areas has begun to fall because of this.
In an effort to combat this issue, coastal lowlands are being converted into fish ponds that become overpopulated, destroying mangrove areas and salt marshes.
Mangroves are important for local wildlife to thrive, so the loss of these areas can have devastating results on the coastal regions.
What makes it even worse is that many shrimp farming operations only last for several years before they are too contaminated with pollution and disease for shrimp to survive.
This pollution then leaks out into the natural environment causing even more damage to the surrounding natural habitats.
Peeling shrimp isn’t the first thing you think of when you hear the word “slavery”, but an investigation in Thailand performed by Associated Press found an entire slavery network dedicated to this.
Major retailers, food stores and restaurants were found to have carried and sold shrimp that was traced back to Thailand factories that utilized forced labor, cramming 50 to 100 people in tiny sheds, many of whom were locked inside.
This means that shrimp, even those caught from the ocean, feed off parasites and dead animals on the ocean floor.
The parasites that are in the shrimp could enter consumers, even if the shrimp is freshly caught.
Now that we know the positives and negatives, let’s talk about how you can determine which shrimp to choose at the store.
Your best bet is to buy shrimp that you know comes from a sustainable source.
If you are unsure, try something from the Seafood Watch yellow or green lists.
These lists contain suitable shrimp vendors.
Due to the difficulty of knowing exactly where your shrimp is coming from, you can choose certain shrimp to ensure freshness.
Purchasing individually frozen, head-off shrimp with the peel still on typically means the shrimp are the least processed and freshest.
Make sure that the shrimp do not feel slimy to the touch, have no spots (unless they are spot prawns or other varieties that naturally have spots), are not yellowed or gritty and have a salty smell.
Do not purchase shrimp that smell like ammonia or other rancid chemicals.
Try to avoid farmed shrimp, but if you do purchase from a fishery, make sure it follows U.S. regulations and is responsibly managed.
Otherwise, choose U.S. wild-caught shrimp.
Unfortunately, there is little to go on when it comes to the quality of shrimp, especially when purchased in stores or restaurants.
While shrimp can have incredible nutrients, it can also have dangerous toxins and chemicals, depending on where it was harvested.
If you choose to consume shrimp, do your research before buying it so that you can know that what you eat will benefit your body as much as possible!
To protect yourself from these toxic chemicals (which lead to higher risk of cancer) in many of our everyday’s food, go to the next page and discover how to boost your immune system –
About the Author:
Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice. Learn how you can lose weight fast – How to lose weight by adding these alkaline foods.
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