Ready-to-eat shrimp pose a threat to people with a weak immune system

May 28, 2002 in Healthy Eating

Ready-to-eat shrimp pose a threat to people with a weak immune system

Ready-to-eat shrimp from your grocer's shelves can contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria say researchers from Mississippi State University. And while this shrimp doesn't pose a danger to healthy people, the study findings emphasize the fact that people with weak immune systems should stay away from such prepared food.

The researchers bought 13 packets of prepared shrimp--some packaged with cocktail sauce--at local grocery stores. Then they used lab techniques to identify, which types of bacteria the shrimp contained. Forty-two percent of the bacterial samples they found in the shrimp were resistant to antibiotics. Resistance to the drug clindamycin was most common, seen in 17% of the resistant bacteria samples, while resistance to ceftriaxone was the most widespread across different types of bacterial species.

The research team expected that most of the contamination they saw would come from the water in which the shrimp were grown, and that resistance would most commonly occur with antibiotics used in shrimp aquaculture. But they also saw a number of bacteria that are not found in the water. They believe that much of the contamination probably occurred during packaging.

Shrimp that is cooked before eating is safe. And prepared shrimp, when handled properly, should also be safe to eat for healthy people. But people with weak immune systems should always cook food products like prepared shrimp before eating them to destroy any residual bacteria.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.