SPANIARDS love nothing more than to suck the heads of shrimp and prawns.
But the Organisation of Consumers and Users, or OCU, now warns against it because of the risk of exposure to cadmium. A silver-white metal, considered to be carcinogenic, known to pollute the heads of shellfish. The metal usually accumulates in the liver and kidneys and in less serious cases will cause severe diarrhoea or stomach pain, but says absorbing too much cadmium can be fatal.
Why do some people, especially Spaniards, have this habit of sucking the heads of shrimps and prawns?
Many people think the head is the best part of the prawns, holding all the juiciness and flavour of the shrimp and prawn inside.
As explained to Euro Weekly News by Juan from Huelva: “Each prawn actually has a very tiny head, where the eyes are located, the part that people suck is in fact the abdomen where all the guts are. As prawns feed on tiny marine life, the guts are full of partly digested creatures, making them delicious.”
“In some European countries, including Spain, in addition to “white” meat, other parts of crustaceans such as the head shrimp, shrimp, crayfish, etc. whose cadmium levels are high, because it mainly accumulates in the hepatopancreas, which is part of the digestive system of crustaceans and is localized in the head, “ explains Rosario, a chef from Isla Canela.
However, the Spanish Food & Safety Agency, or AESAN is now advising not to suck the heads of prawns, shrimps, crayfish and other crustaceans because of the risk of exposure to cadmium.
This silver-white metal is known to pollute the heads of shellfish, a heavy metal considered to be carcinogenic and can cause irreversible damage to kidneys, lungs and bones.