We all know that one of the biggest countries in the world, China, has recently made headlines with stories of food producers using toxic or fake ingredients in their food such as plastic rice and fake green peas. And now, unfortunately, Vietnam is making the front pages. Just take a look at the article below to find out more about this! This is how the story goes – according to the officials, the Vietnamese producers have been caught exporting shrimp injected with chemicals to make the product weigh more — yes, it is all about the money. This video report shows one supplier using 30 chemical pumps to inject each shrimp with a combination of the following:
CMC (Carboxymethyl cellulose)
And, now you probably ask yourself – why is this done?
Well, let me say this in the simplest way possible – this “method” brings the vendor more money. You can take this for example, 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) will weigh about 1.15-1.2 kg after the injection. It also makes the shrimp “looks fresher,” according to the video. The fresh look allows the vendor to increase the price.
SHOCKING: Even the facility worker confessed:
He said: “Every day I buy around 30-50 kg of shrimp. After I inject the substances, I sell them to seafood export companies in Ca Mau, Vietnam. I have to do this because all local shrimp suppliers do this.”
And, he also said the company buys the chemical CMC to inject shrimp with from China. Because CMC becomes a clear gel-like substance when dissolved in water, it matches the consistency of a shrimp’s body.
Do you know what’s CMC?
Here’s what you need to know – CMC or Carboxymethyl cellulose, is a “water-soluble anionic linear polymer” used as a food additive, as well as in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Different types of CMC are available: purified (food grade), technical grade and industrial. The food grade is 99.5% or higher, and is called cellulose gum. The FDA labeled it GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe)! But, however, no new studies have been done since 1970s to confirm that it is indeed harmless. What we currently know is that consuming large amounts of CMC can potentially lead to diarrhea and abdominal cramps. And, the real and ugly truth is that we still do not know that the CMC Vietnam gets from China is food grade. Knowing that this whole scheme is to make money, it is quite likely that many vendors will order the cheapest CMC they can find; industrial grade is twice cheaper than food grade, and it is 50-90% pure. It contains large amounts of sodium chloride and sodium glycolate. These two ingredients are not recommended for people with heart problems, high blood pressure, and sodium-sensitivity.
The million-dollar question – is there any safe shrimp out there?
WARNING: this news might be disheartening for all shrimp-lovers. U.S. has a couple of shrimp producers. The Wood’s Fisheries on Florida, for example, refuses to use antibiotics or chemical additives and strives for the healthiest shrimp. And, don’t worry – if you are unable in stores, you can actually order USA wild-caught shrimp on Amazon. Always check the country of origin when you are buying shrimp, avoid Thailand, and you will not consume unnecessary CMC or pay extra for it.