The largest shrimp (also called prawns) exporting country in the world is Thailand. The AP Press and the Guardian have both done recent investigations into the Thailand shrimping industry finding many shrimp boats and fishing boats that supply feed to the world’s largest shrimp farm managed by the Thailand-based Charoen Pokphand (CP) Foods, regularly use slave labor.
Men who have managed to escape from boats supplying CP Foods and other companies like it told the Guardian of horrific conditions, including 20-hour shifts, regular beatings, torture and execution-style killings. Some were at sea for years; some were regularly offered methamphetamines to keep them going. Some had seen fellow slaves murdered in front of them.
Shrimp and fish caught from slaves from Thailand and other fish markets from Myanmar to Hawaii, can wind up in the supply chains of some of America’s major grocery stores, such as Kroger, Albertsons, Whole Foods, Target and Safeway; the nation’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart; and the biggest food distributor, Sysco. It can find its way into the supply chains of some of the most popular brands of canned pet food, including Fancy Feast, Meow Mix and Iams. It can turn up as calamari at fine dining restaurants, or at restaurants like Red Lobster and Olive Garden, as imitation crab in a California sushi roll or as packages of frozen snapper relabeled with store brands that land on our dinner tables.
Know which brands and retailers are tainted by supply chains linked to labor abuses. The AP’s investigation covered many companies and stores in all 50 states.
Shrimp brands and companies found to be compromised:
Cape Gourmet; Certifresh; Chef’s Net; Chicken of the Sea; Chico; CoCo; Darden (owner of Olive Garden Italian Kitchen, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze Island Grille, Seasons 52 Fresh Grill, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Yard House); Delicasea; Fancy Feast cat food; Farm Best; Fisherman’s Wharf; Winn-Dixie; Fishmarket; Great American; Great Atlantic; Great Catch; Harbor Banks; KPF; Market Basket; Master Catch; Neptune; Portico; Publix; Red Lobster; Royal Tiger; Royal White; Sea Best; Sea Queen; Stater Bros.; Supreme Choice; Tastee Choice; Wal-Mart; Waterfront Bistro; Wellness canned cat food; Whole Catch; Wholey; Xcellent.
Supermarkets chosen at random linked to the tainted supply chains:
Acme Markets; Albertsons; Aldi; Bi-Lo; Carrs-Safeway; Cash Wise; Crest Foods; Cub Foods; D’Agostino Supermarket; Dan’s Supermarket; Dollar General; Edwards Food Giant; Family Dollar; Foodland; Fred Meyer; Giant Eagle; Harris-Teeter; H-E-B; Hy-Vee; Jerry’s Foods; Jewel-Osco; Jons International Marketplace; Kroger; Lowes Foods; Mariano’s; Market Basket; Marsh Supermarkets; Martin’s Super Markets; McDade’s Market; Pavilions; Petco; Piggly Wiggly; Price Chopper; Publix; Ralphs; Randall’s Food Market; Redner’s Warehouse Markets; Russ’s Market; Safeway; Save Mart; Schnucks; Shaws; ShopRite; Smart & Final; Sprouts Farmers Market; Stater Bros.; Stop & Shop; Sunshine Foods; Target; Van’s Thriftway; Vons; Wal-Mart; Whole Foods; Winn-Dixie.
Alternative Options to Support
- Shrimp from Thailand stands a good chance of being tainted by labor abuses.
- Look for certification by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council which has developed standards that take into account environmental and social conditions for marine farming.
Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Certification
- Greenpeace has released a grocery store scorecard that takes into account whether retailers are involved in initiatives that are fighting human rights abuses.
Look for Domestic
According to the AP, 90 percent of shrimp in the United States is imported. But look in the right places, and you can find shrimp from Alaska, Texas, Louisiana, Florida and North Carolina for sale. It may cost a little more but its better for human rights, environment and many consider domestic shrimp to taste better.
Ask your Restaurants where their Shrimp Come From
- Don’t eat there if they can’t answer the question
- Let your restaurants know how important it is to have non slave labor shrimp