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   Apr 25

How safe are the prawns YOU’RE eating?

There, prawns are ‘farmed’ in huge industrial tanks, or shallow, man-made ponds that can stretch for acres.

In some cases, 150 shrimp can occupy a single square metre.

They are typically fed commercial pellets, some of which contain antibiotics to ward off disease.

If the ponds are not carefully managed, ‘a sludge of faecal matter, chemicals and excess food can build up and decay’.

And wastewater can be ‘periodically discharged’ into nearby waterways.

The experts advise wild shrimp, a number of samples of which were also tested, appear to be worth the higher prices.

The report reveals: ‘Of all the shrimp we tested, they were among the least likely to harbour any kind of bacteria or contain chemicals.’

But, it is worth considering the effects on the environment, marine scientists warn.

Amanda Keledjian, from the not-for-profit conservation group, Oceana, said: ‘Nets dragged along the ocean floor can severely damage the sea bottom and anything that lives there.’

The report goes on to state, that while estimates vary, between one and three pounds of other species, including endangered sea turtles, can be killed for every pound of shrimp caught in the wild.

A large number of the prawns available on supermarket started life in vast prawn farms in Thailand, India and Indonesia.

They are farmed in huge industrial tanks, or in shallow ponds, like those pictured in Krabi, above

If the ponds are not carefully managed, ‘a sludge of faecal matter, chemicals and excess food can build up’. Experts said on the face of their findings it is better to opt for wild prawns over their farmed cousins

So faced with the facts, how can consumers make the right choices when it comes to which shrimp to put in their cocktail?

Marianne Cufone, an environmental solicitor and executive director at Recirculating Farms Coalition, explains how you can spot a farmed prawn from their wild cousins.

‘Wild shrimp often vary in size, shape, and colour because they don’t all have identical genetics,’ she said.

‘Batches of farmed shrimp often all hatch at the same time, eat the same food and live in the same environment, so they’re more likely to look the same.’

And her second tip, is to look for evidence of prawn faeces.

‘Look for poop, or what is politely called a ‘vein’,’ she added. ‘Frequently, shrimp farmers stop feeding shrimp before harvesting them so that the vein empties.

‘If you see a dark line there’s a better chance it’s a real wild shrimp.’

Source: Daily Mail

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