Indian Shrimp Is Banned In Qatar, Here’s Why
Image Credit: Image: Shutterstock

India is one of the world’s largest exporters of agricultural goods. But did you know that it also exports a lot of other ingredients globally, especially to the Middle Eastern countries? Seafood is one of them. However, recently, the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) in Qatar banned the consumption of both fresh and frozen shrimp from India. But why? The move was announced following an analysis in the food laboratories of the ministry. The study found that some imported supplies of the Indian shrimp were microbially contaminated. 

Although MOPH, with the help of the Ministry of Municipality, is working to ensure that all the available quantities of the Indian shrimp are withdrawn from the market, it has called upon its consumers who may have recently purchased fresh and frozen Indian shrimp to immediately return them to the outlets. And if they cannot return, at least avoid eating them. The ministry has also appealed that if the consumers have eaten the shrimp and experienced symptoms of gastro-intestinal infection, they should visit the nearest health centre. 

The ban has been imposed under the recommendations of the Food Safety Committee, issued by Ministerial Resolution No. 3 in the year 2017, with the exception of frozen shrimps without head and shell, except for the tail. The authorities confirmed that frozen Indian shrimp with head and tail removed has been tested in a Kuwait laboratory and approved to be fit for human consumption. 

If this has made you wonder how you can check the quality and freshness of shrimp, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few tips.

1. Check the smell before buying 

You don't want any shrimp that smells like ammonia. This is the primary sign of spoilage. Always ask the vendor if you can smell the shrimp once before buying it. 

2. Texture matters 

The shrimp that is limp, slimy, or falling apart should always be avoided. All of these are signs of decay.  

3. Look for black spots 

This is a more advanced sign in the case of head-on fresh shrimp. If you find black spots on the head and the body, it’s an indication that the shrimp is not fresh. The black spots are called melanosis. They are a result of the same oxidation process that turns your apples brown. While they don't actually mean that the shrimp is bad, they do hint that the shrimp is not fresh.