Slave Ships, Supermarkets and Shrimps

The days of mindlessly popping a shrimp dipped in cocktail sauce into your mouth between sips of Chardonnay at a cocktail party are decidedly over.  From radioactive fish in Japan caused by the ongoing horror in Fukushima to the toxic wasteland BP has created in the Gulf of Mexico with not just the spilling of millions of gallons of oil but the deadly dispersant it used to “clean up” the spill.  A brilliant piece by Vice on the BP spill (see below) explains that dispersant are not only toxic they just “hide” the spill by sinking the oil – an out of sight out of mind kind of non-solution.

Now this devastating piece of investigative journalism from the Guardian exploring the use of slave labor on the ships that provide most of the world with Shrimp. 18 minutes long you will feel like you are watching a horror movie, but you must not turn away from this grim reality.  As the narrator points out, it’s only with pressure by consumers who buy shrimp which is sold at: Costco, Walmart and Tesco  to mention just a few that this barbaric situation will ever change. French food chain Carrefour has stopped, temporarily, buying shrimp from CP the Thai distributor responsible for using slaves on its fishing boats.

The only shrimp I can imagine eating these days are the wild ones caught seasonally off the coast of Maine.  The point that sticks in my mind that one person makes in the Guardian piece is that shrimp used to be something you ate rarely as a treat.

It’s wonderful to live in a world were everything is available and competition has made most things so cheap that not only are they always available they are also more affordable than ever before.

This convenience has a deadly price.  Both in human terms and the over fishing we are doing in our increasingly toxic waters.

Time to re-think eating shrimp.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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