Truth about…Shrimp

Truth about… Warning: It’s never my intention to ruin someone’s experience with food. If “we are what we eat” we should be aware of who we are and what we’re eating. This portion of the blog will focus on non-vegan food items that you may think twice about consuming. So if you want to be conscious about what you’re consuming, this is the portion of the blog you want to read. If you want to continue to eat for taste without an understanding of what you’re consuming…stop reading now!

shrimp cockroach

I got a few phone calls when I shared the picture above on Facebook, so I decided to do my first truth about… blog post on this food item. Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States, and I’m going to share 7 facts about shrimp that may make you think twice before ordering your next shrimp scampi.

Cockroaches of the Sea

Shrimp, lobster, and cockroaches are all a part of the phylum Arthropoda, invertebrate animals which have jointed appendages, segmented bodies, and exoskeletons (external skeletons), and are therefore related. They are known to spread severe disease to humans, livestock, and crops, and they are important members of marine, freshwater, land, and air ecosystems as they play the role of garbage collectors. 3

Speaking of garbage collectors, shrimp are bottom dwellers who feed on parasites and skin that they pick off dead animals.

Imported vs. Domestic Shrimp

Ninety percent of the shrimp we eat has been imported, but the FDA tests just 0.1 percent of imported seafood for chemical residue. Imported shrimp has been found to be contaminated with banned chemicals, pesticides, and even cockroaches.

Domestic shrimp is commonly tainted with oil. Scientists from the Natural Resources Defense Council have criticized the residue limits for oil and Corexit that the government is using, suggesting that they’re not low enough to protect pregnant women and their unborn children. 1

Packing & Shipping

A report published in the November 2012 issue of Bloomberg magazine revealed some disgusting facts about the conditions in which shrimp are packaged and shipped. At one particular facility in Vietnam, the magazine’s reporters found processing-plant floors littered with garbage, flies buzzing around, and shrimp that wasn’t being stored at proper temperatures. The shrimp itself was packed in ice made from local tap water, which public health authorities warned should be boiled before using due to microbial contamination, potentially exposing the shrimp (and eaters) to more bacterial contamination. According to Bloomberg, FDA inspectors have rejected 1,380 loads of seafood from Vietnam since 2007 for filth and salmonella, including 81 from the plant the reporters visited. 1

During cleaning, shrimp have their legs torn off and are decapitated and disemboweled. As their bowels are ripped out, poop spills out and often gets all over the shrimp. 2


Cancer Risk

ABC News recruited scientists from Texas Tech University’s Institute of Environmental and Human Health to test 30 samples of shrimp purchased from grocery stores for the presence of three classes of antibiotics. Two samples of farm-raised (as opposed to wild) shrimp from India and Thailand tested positive for nitrofuranzone, an antibiotic that’s a known carcinogen, at levels 28 and 29 times higher than those allowed by the FDA. Another antibiotic, chloramphenical, was detected at levels 150 times the legal limit. It’s been banned in food production in the U.S. because of possible severe side effects such as aplastic anemia and leukemia. 1


Slave Labor

Almost all shrimp farms and shrimp processing plants are located in developing countries, where workers are forced to work long hours for minimal pay. 2


Shrimp contain 152 milligrams of cholesterol per 100-gram serving of shrimp (four or five shrimp), just two servings would put you over the daily recommended allowance of 300 milligrams of cholesterol! 2


Many religions have discouraged the consumption of shrimp. For Christians like myself, you may want to look at Leviticus 11: 10-12

10 And all that have not fins AND scales in the seas and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you.

11 They shall be even an abomination unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall hold their carcasses in abomination.

12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

Some may argue that Jesus came and made all things clean but when I’m on the fence about something, I tend to bend towards Paul’s thought that…

1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV) “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial.

And if the cons outweigh the pros like for everything listed above, I believe while it’s argued that it’s permissible it’s not very beneficial for my body.




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