Could Farmed Shrimp Leave a Sour Taste?

Shrimp have been considered to be a healthy addition to most diets for many years, avoiding the usual risk of most fish which have been plagued by the widespread contamination of mercury and other environmental pollution. However, all may not be as it seems where these small creatures are concerned. Unless you know where the shrimp has been caught from, how do you know how safe it is for your health? The problem with farmed shrimp is that it can often be more contaminated than it’s wild-caught neighbours. Aquatic farms pose serious dangers to ecological systems, and the lack of inspection means this risk is even higher. According to a recent report, 90 percent of shrimp that is consumed by the public has been imported, but with just two percent of this inspected how do we really know what we’re eating? Because of the declining stocks of seafood in our waters, aquatic farms have become a huge business. But due to the environmental hazards they pose, we could be risking our health by choosing produced sourced from these farms.

Studies show that contamination is rife amongst farmed seafood, and these come from chemical residues from cleaning products, pathogens such as salmonella and E.coli, and other pollutants such as rat and mouse hair. Food and Water Watch have claimed that imported shrimp can be accounted for 26 to 35 percent of all shipments which get rejected due to filth. The University of Surrey School of Biological Sciences carried out a toxicology report which found that 4-hexylreorcinol was lethal to all of the cats in the study and that it was also carcinogenic, also causing a high risk of nephropathy (an autoimmune disease which affects your kidneys) in mice. Astaxanthin is one of the most effective antioxidants researchers have found, yet farmed shrimp have very little of this and are actually given a synthetic version to provide the colour we attribute to them. But synthetic astaxanthin is actually made from petrochemicals which shouldn’t be consumed by humans. Shrimp are a tasty and nutritious ingredient in your diet, but only when sourced from a clean and chemical-free environment.

It’s advised that you source your foods from the cleanest cold-water areas possible. These include pink shrimp from Oregon, wild-caught rock shrimp from the US, spot prawns from British Columbia, and coonstripe shrimp from the California area – these are considered to be the best and cleanest shrimp around. Aquatic farms have been likened to animal feeding operations (CAFO), which are laden with toxic chemicals and diseases. It’s for this reason that, although the health benefits of fish outweigh the risk of contamination and disease, you should be aware of where your food is coming from. The impact of water contamination and poor farming practices have meant that our health is at risk.

Speaking to your fishmonger about where your food comes from, being better educated about the risks, and making more mindful choices about your diet can all help to contribute towards a healthier lifestyle and less risks of disease. There is no denying that including fish and seafood into your diet is of benefit to your help – rich in protein and vitamins, they’re a wonder for your diet – but if they’re laden with toxic chemicals and infections, they’ll do more harm than good. If you want to keep yourself and your family healthy, the best way is to make a choice between farmed shrimp from imported sources in dangerous fishing areas, or to choose fish from more secure and safe places. The extra effort put into finding healthier sources could be the difference between toxic chemicals and your wellbeing.

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