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Eating shrimp could make you sick, claims new report
Published:  15 December, 2006

ON December 19, environmental campaign group Food & Water Watch will release an updated report on what it describes as “the health risks” of industrially-produced, imported shrimp.

Shrimp has become the most popular seafood in the United States. The typical American eats three-and-a-half pounds of shrimp a year - much of it during the holiday season.

This week, the National Marine Fisheries Service reported that U.S. shrimp imports are up 11.4% through October of this year. According to Food & Water Watch, most of that shrimp was grown in “polluted”, man-made ponds along the coast of Thailand, Vietnam, Ecuador, and other tropical countries.

“These shrimp are often referred to as ‘farmed’ and may be labeled ‘farm-raised’, but in reality, they are industrially produced,” a statement released by the organisation said.

“The industrially produced shrimp that are eventually served in restaurants and homes across the United States have been exposed to a variety of contaminants - from the untreated sewage that pollutes the water used by shrimp facilities to more than a dozen kinds of pesticides and antibiotics applied to the ponds to control disease and parasites.

“Consumer health risks of eating industrially produced shrimp may include neurological damage from ingesting pesticides, an allergic response to penicillin residues or infection by an antibiotic-resistant pathogen, such as E. coli.”

According to Food & Water Watch, exemptions to federal labeling laws mean that U.S. consumers often have no way of knowing where the shrimp they purchase was produced.

“Unfortunately, contaminated shrimp does not stop at the U.S. border. The Food and Drug Administration only inspects 1.2 percent of imported seafood, which means that large quantities of shrimp contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, antibiotics and pesticide residues could be reaching consumers.”

Food & Water Watch says its new report, ‘Suspicious Seafood’, highlights the dangers of eating industrially-produced shrimp and calls on consumers to ask questions about where and how their shrimp was caught or farmed.

It will be available on the Food & Water Watch website on December 19: is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.

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