Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shrimp Industry

We had several comments about a caption, under a picture in the Greensboro News and Record article on Sunday, September 27, that referenced antibiotics in frozen shrimp from outside the United States. The reference was not made off-hand nor without a basis in fact. Here is an excellent report from The Solidarity Center on "The True Cost of Shrimp" - look for it about 3 reports down on the right. It is in a PDF format and lengthy (40 pages of big print and color photos) so please read it online and save your paper.

This is a clearly laid out article about how we in America can eat inexpensive foreign produced shrimp that is now so widely distributed. The article draws on information from many excellent sources. The report lays out the truth about the exploitation of both children and adults by many in this industry, the destruction of the environment and the use of banned antibiotics and other chemicals that permanently damage the health of the workers and cause longer term consequences for all of us. It also includes a list of grocery chains in this country that carry these shrimp and several are here in NC.

As a result of what I learned about the shrimping industry, I have committed to only buying shrimp that I know is Wild Caught (and preferably in NC waters) for use in my own home. Matt Barr, a UNCG film professor, has an excellent documentary about the NC shrimp industry called "Wild Caught" (see the trailer here.)

One of the purposes of this project is to show that while our inexpensive food may come cheap, it's often at the expense of many other lives and environments including, ultimately, our own. Unfortunately, we are often driven to poor food choices by its low cost, the immediate gratification factor and a lack of information as to the methods by which much of this cheap food is actually produced. We've put ourselves in a "pay less now, but much more later" bind that we really can't afford to ignore any longer.

We can make changes, and once informed it is hard not to. I was in the exact same place a few years back, eating the same cheap Thailand produced shrimp and thinking how great it was that I could include seafood in my diet. I can no longer eat food grown and gathered on the backs of poorly treated workers, including children, some of them the same age as my own young daughter, so I can have a "heart healthy diet." I hope once informed you will feel the same.

Eat well and be well!
Anne-Marie Scott

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this wonderful post. I had no idea about antibiotics used in shrimp and the use of child labor!