The Skinny on Shrimp
Shrimp has become one of America’s most popular seafood items. Seems fitting considering the crustacean is low in fat, high in protein and rich in vitamin B12 and selenium. In fact, Americans eat about four pounds of shrimp per person each year. That being said, it’s important to understand what’s in the shrimp you are buying and where it comes from.

Dierbergs Shrimp Standard
Dierbergs’ seafood buyers are dedicated to ensuring all bulk shrimp and shrimp rings purchased in our seafood department are all natural and chemical free. No sodium bisulfite. No sodium tripolyphosphate. (More about that, below). Just pure, meatier shrimp without pumped additives. We encourage shrimp consumers to read the label before purchasing – you might be shocked what you find in your shrimp at other retailers. At Dierbergs, we pride ourselves on quality and want our customers to feel confident about the shrimp we have to offer.

Here's some background to help you understand the value of shrimp that’s all natural and chemical free:

Shrimp are harvested in two ways: wild-caught in the ocean or farmed. U.S. wild caught shrimp is known for its sustainability due to U.S. law that requires boats to use nets with turtle-excluder devices and escape chutes for fish. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, this results in domestic fisheries having a 50 percent lower bycatch ratio. However, with increased demand in shrimp, comes bigger hauls and boats out for weeks at a time. Pressure is put on producers to use preservatives to keep shrimp fresh longer.

Additives and Preservatives
Commonly used shrimp preservatives are sodium bisulfite and sodium tripolyphosphate (STP). Producers that use preservatives flash freeze the shrimp in a chill tank with salt, water and sodium bisulfite to slow decomposition and melanosis, which causes the shell membrane to blacken. The FDA considers bisulfite safe; although some may have sensitivities to it.

Sodium tripolyphosphate is a rehydrating agent applied at the processing plant. Shrimp are 80 percent water so to prevent them from drying out during peeling and freezer storing, producers coat them in STP before being refrozen for resale. STP is also used to make shrimp appear firmer, smoother and glossier. If shrimp is soaked for too long in the STP, it absorbs water. Bottom line: the consumer ends up paying more for the product by the pound because the excess water makes it weigh more. As the shrimp industry has grown, STP baths have become a standard procedure.