In a recent post I questioned the safety of all the imported shrimp we eat here in the US. The vast majority of which, is farm-raised. Add in all the different labels that mislead you into thinking you are buying something “natural” or “organic” and you have no way of telling what you are really getting. It is pretty much common knowledge that most shrimp we see are farm-raised, yet most of us know nothing about how shrimp get to us. This very nicely done video from the “How It’s Made” TV series shows the raising of shrimp in Southeast Asia.
I think the video is pretty cool, but let’s be serious, most shrimp farms probably do not operate like this. This is certainly an idealized setting; most shrimp farms have a notorious reputation for raising food grade specimens in heavily polluted water and using antibiotics to cover it up. If all shrimp farms looked like the one in the video, I think we all would have a little less to worry about.
So as a follow-up to the Al-Jazeera report on the older post, check out what the good people at Consumer Reports have to say on imported farmed shrimp:
In my opinion, wild-caught shrimp is always best, and out of the wild-caught, domestic shrimp is at the top. However, not all farm-raised shrimp is bad either. As the last video showed, most of the labels and descriptions you see on shrimp (and other seafood for that matter) really mean nothing, with a few exceptions. The best way to ensure quality is through research.
Start by asking your seafood dealer what they think and learn more about the labelling practices. Send the company an email, I find most producers of a quality product are happy to answer consumer questions. Research shrimp and seafood suppliers online in your spare time. Sometimes when I’m exploring the frozen seafood section, I’ll look up a brand on my smart phone just to make sure there are no major red flags. Remember, fishing and aquaculture are at the mercy of the consumer market, vote with your money and get these sewer-laden shrimp farms to change their act or go out of business.