On Memorial Day and throughout the summer, many Americans will fire up their outdoor grills, and most will be throwing on chicken, ribs, or beef. But there’s another American favorite you might consider that may be a little less traditional for grilling but certainly is no less American.

Shrimp not only is America’s favorite seafood; it’s my favorite seafood as well. I’ll be grilling my own shrimp this year just like I have in many years past, and I’ll be going to the same reliable place to order my shrimp at TexasLonghornShrimp.com. The company has the reputation of having the biggest shrimp available anywhere, and I personally can tell you they have the best-tasting shrimp, too.

If you’re in the mood for some serious grilling, you definitely don’t want to go down to your local supermarket to buy your shrimp, which is almost certain to be imported from and farm-raised in China or Vietnam. Avoiding imported shrimp not only bodes well for the health of the U.S. shrimp industry, but it also bodes well for your personal health.

Nine out of every 10 pounds of shrimp Americans consume every year is imported, and the vast majority of that imported shrimp is raised through aquaculture (the farming of fish) in crowded, dirty ponds making them susceptible to disease. Vietnam, for example, has been documented to routinely use antibiotics and other contaminants banned in the United States by the FDA. Foreign shrimp farmers use these banned substances to guard against failure of their industry since the constant threat of disease can destroy their shrimp crop.

In July 2006, Canada moved to protect consumers there by requiring the government of Vietnam to certify all their seafood exports were free of antibiotics like chloramphenicol. Japan also has imposed similar safeguards requiring that 100 percent of shrimp imported from Vietnam be tested for various contaminants. Even so, Japanese authorities discovered no less than 54 shipments of shrimp from Vietnam were contaminated with chloramphenicol in the first half of 2007 alone.

The livelihood of our domestic shrimp industry also is threatened by illegal transshipment (routing an original product from China, for example, through a different country and labeling it with a different country of origin). In March 2006, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) found that dozens of different shrimp importers falsely labeled imported Chinese shrimp as originating from Indonesia, avoiding more than $65 million in antidumping duties. Some countries like Malaysia also have refused to cooperate in preventing the transshipment of Chinese products.

Sixty-five million dollars my not sound like a lot compared to our huge national economy, but these duties would go a long way in offsetting subsidies by foreign governments in support of their own shrimp industries. The resulting artificially high supply of shrimp causes our U.S. market to be flooded with subsidized, contaminated shrimp offered at unfairly low prices. That situation threatens the U.S. industry by denying our American industry a level playing field.

By asking American workers to compete directly with lower wage earners in lower-living-standard countries, we cause our own citizens to lower their earning power and ultimately their affluence as consumers.

Let’s not lower the affluence and buying power of those in the U.S. shrimp industry who go out every day and work hard to make the best shrimp found anywhere available to people like you and me. If you love shrimp like I do, really big shrimp, you’ll want to visit Texas Longhorn Shrimp. Or, if you’re in the mood for the more-common shrimp found in restaurants and other eating establishments, then try USA American Shrimp.

By ordering from either of these two websites, you can get next day service. Your shrimp is individually quick-frozen when caught at sea. Then it comes right off the boats to the packaging plant where it is counted, packaged and individually frozen again before it is sent to wherever you happen to be.

USA American Shrimp and Texas Longhorn Shrimp also are proud members of the Go Texan campaign, which promotes Texas agriculture. The Go Texan logo is certified by the Texas Department of Agriculture and can only be used by product members on products grown, processed or manufactured in Texas. So shrimp imported from China and elsewhere does not have this logo applied to the product.

You can also do as I’ve done by ordering Texas Longhorn Shrimp or USA American Shrimp as unique gifts for family members. I ordered Texas Longhorn Shrimp for one of my brothers and his family years ago for Christmas and was promptly told that I would never have to think about asking what they wanted for Christmas ever again and to keep this American shrimp as a “standing order.”

If you love shrimp or know someone who does, you owe it to your taste buds to visit Texas Longhorn Shrimp or USA American Shrimp, where you’ll find out how to score one pound of free cocktail shrimp with your order. You’ll be glad you did.


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