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A little knowledge can be empowering, but in the past, knowledge about shrimp has been more depressing than encouraging. Thanks to one recent partnership, that’s about to change.
I learned last year about the devastating impact of foreign shrimp farms on surrounding aquatic habitats, and the widespread use of antibiotics and hormones. So when shopping for shrimp, I always avoid any farmed, imported shrimp and opt instead for wild U.S.-caught when available. Ordering shrimp in restaurants has been fraught, too, as its sourcing is often uncertain.
Happily, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has just announced some good news: it recently collaborated with the Compass Group, a major foodservice agency, and Contessa Foods, an environmentally and nutritionally responsible food manufacturer, to implement sustainable purchasing standards for imported farmed shrimp. This will widen the availability of sustainably raised, eco-friendly farmed shrimp, as these groups are major players with substantial reach. (Compass North America did $9.2 billion in business in 2009.)
With hope, market forces will encourage other companies to follow suit. For shrimp lovers like me, and probably you, this means more scampi, and with a cleaner conscience to boot.