A while back I wrote two posts on imported farmed shrimp and I think readers got the gist of it: Farmed shrimp, especially from Asia, scares the hell out of me. Well, here is even more news about how some imported shrimp comes with as an added “bonus.” How about some E. coli or Staph to go with your shrimp cocktail?
According to this shocking video by CBC in Canada, many shrimp imports from Asia and sold in Canadian supermarkets, are testing positive for antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.” The video is a little long but I suggest watching it to check out the results toward the end.
Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the US, and the demand by and large outstrips the supply of our native shrimp. Thanks to warming temperatures in the Gulf of Maine, my hometown no longer has a winter shrimp fishery. Canada is one of the world’s greatest exporters of seafood, but they love their shrimp too, and import quite a bit from Asia, especially India.
On my trip to Seafood Expo North America 2019 in Boston, there were lots of shrimp farms represented, most of them from Asian countries and of course all of them tout how clean their shrimp farms are. If you watched the video, some of the organic labeled farmed shrimp tested positive for superbugs. And even BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices) certification was no security as some of the samples carried this seal of “quality” and still tested positive.
So where is the antibiotic-resistant bacteria coming from? While I doubt all of these farms are pumping antibiotics into their grow areas, I’m sure it is part of the problem. The video states that India uses more antibiotics than any other country. But the rest? That may be due to an even more difficult problem: cross-contamination, which can happen at any point in the supply chain. Stay vigilant, read labels, buy local if possible, and cook your shrimp!