Assessment and communication of the toxicological risk of consuming shrimp in the EU



Newton R, Zhang W, Leaver M, Murray F & Little DC (2019) Assessment and communication of the toxicological risk of consuming shrimp in the EU. Aquaculture, 500, pp. 148-159.

The numbers of alerts from the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) related to crustacean products were compared to numbers of mainstream media stories related to health concerns. An internet search of "farmed shrimp" was also conducted and the content of the websites assessed for subject matter and balance. The study found that the absolute number of RASFF alerts has fallen considerably since legislation controlling testing of food being traded into and within the EU was introduced in 2002 and tracked increasing stringency of EU procedures. There were 1512 alerts from 1980 to 2015 with 44.0% and 21.2% of alerts attributed to farmed and wild shrimp respectively. There were large numbers of alerts reporting antibiotic residues in wild shrimp, which raised questions about the source of the contamination, and natural occurrence of the antimicrobial residues was considered. The number of mainstream media stories closely followed the number of alerts, but 91.2% of media articles concerning the health aspects were concerned with consumption of farmed shrimp. The internet search revealed a much more negative view of farmed shrimp compared to the mainstream media. It is suggested that the internet generally follows an historic negative narrative on farmed seafood, often with little validation which narrows the discourse on seafood production rather than empowering consumers. According to the risk assessment of RASFF data, it was concluded that farmed shrimp does not possess any more risk than wild seafood choices but producers have not been able to communicate the benefits of farmed produce to the consumer.

Shrimp; Risk assessment; Food safety; Antimicrobial; Media; Public perception

Aquaculture: Volume 500

FundersSeafood Importers & processors Alliance
Publication date01/02/2019
Publication date online07/10/2018
Date accepted by journal05/10/2018
PublisherElsevier BV

People (2)


Professor Dave Little

Professor Dave Little

Professor, Institute of Aquaculture

Dr Richard Newton

Dr Richard Newton

Lecturer in Resilient Food Systems, Institute of Aquaculture