Shrimp consumption and your health
Facts on farmed shrimp and your health:
- Shrimp has become one of the most popular seafood options among consumers due, in part, to its affordability.
- Over the years, Canada’s reliance on seafood imports has grown – Canada imported over 60 percent of its domestic seafood product needs in 2001.
- The majority of shrimp we eat is farmed, imported from countries in Asia, like Thailand, Vietnam, and China.
- Shrimp in these nations can be raised in densely-packed ponds, which are susceptible to outbreaks of disease. To prevent this from happening, farmers often turn to antibiotics – some of which pose health risks to consumers.
- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspects a maximum of 5 percent of imported foods. In 2010, the agency rejected several seafood shipments from Asia for containing nitrofurans, a known carcinogen. Other shipments were rejected for containing tetracyclines and fluoroquinolones, two valuable antibiotics used to treat a wide range of infections, including chlamydia and anthrax.
- The misuse and overuse of antibiotics in food production can also lead to antibiotic resistant pathogens in shrimp. Through consuming raw shrimp, resistant strains can be passed on to humans.
- Resistant strains can also spread as a result of farmers handling shrimp infected with drug-resistant bacteria.
- In recent years, there has been a severe lack of newly discovered drugs for treating human infections and the rate of antibiotic resistance has increased globally – a problem the medical community recognizes as a serious threat to humankind.
Sources: Statistics Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Environmental Microbiology, the Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals, the World Health Organization.