Mussels Side Effects + Health Risks

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 08/03/22 •  11 min read
mussels benefits and side effects

What are mussels side effects and benefits every ethical consumer must know? Here are mussels pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on mussels benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about mussels benefits and side effects. This will include mussels benefits for your health and potential risks, mussels sustainability, if mussels are vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if mussels are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about mussels benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Must-Know Mussels Side Effects And Benefits

HEALTH

Energy: mussels are good for / help boost energy, combat anemia, mood regulation, nervous system health, regulate blood sugar and blood clotting | mussels increase the risk of memory loss from PBCs, sickness from bacterial contamination, seafood is the number one cause of food poisoning in the United States, which leads to many side effects and causes extreme discomfort, high levels of mercury can lead to depression and anxiety | mussels are good for anemia prevention

Longevity: mussels are good for / help boost immunity | mussels are bad for / increase the risk of toxic chemicals known to cause cancer and brain degeneration, toxic contaminants and heavy metals from polluted water habitats, PBCs may cause liver damage, nervous system disorders, and fetal damage, dioxins, also linked to cancer and death, radioactive substances like strontium 90 and other dangerous contaminants like cadmium, mercury poisoning, lead, chromium, and arsenic, which can cause health problems such as kidney damage, impaired mental development and cancer, high levels of mercury can lead to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, mercury exposure can also lead to high blood pressure, an increased risk of heart attacks and higher “bad” LDL cholesterol

Appearance: mussels are good for / help protect eyes and skin, muscle building, weight loss

Mussels are…

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ENVIRONMENT

Water footprint: unknown

Carbon footprint: low, 0.53 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of mussels, a car driving equivalent of 1.25 miles or 2 kilometers

Destruction: high, mussel production is relatively destructive, negatively impacts marine ecosystems, discarded fishing nets pollute oceans, fishing damages coral, sponges and poses severe threat to marine habitats

Mussels are…

ANIMALS

Kills: mussels

Harms: mussels, farmed fish spend their entire lives (up to two years) confined in tightly packed spaces, most farmed fish are predators and eat smaller fish, billions of wild fish must be caught in order to feed them, it can take several pounds of ocean fish to produce just one pound of farmed fish 

Indirectly kills or harms: sea-life, such as dolphins, sea turtles, protected fish, whales, seabirds etc. known as “bycatch”, unwanted marine life that unintentionally get caught, hooked and entangled in fishing nets

Mussels are…

LABORERS

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Mussels have…

Where do most mussels come from?

The world’s top mussel exporting country is Spain, followed by Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, New Zealand, France, UK and Greece.

Are mussels nutritious?

Mussels are high in protein, iron, and vitamin B12.

mussels are acidic.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Are mussels alkaline or acidic?

Mussels are acidic.

What is the pH level of mussels?

Mussels have a 4.5 pH level once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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mussels are gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Are mussels gluten free?

Yes, mussels are gluten free. Mussels do not contain gluten. Mussels are a type of mollusk, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

mussels are a common food allergen: crustacean shellfish. mussels side effects include being dangerous for many.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Are mussels a common food allergen?

Yes, mussels are a common food allergen: crustacean shellfish. Many people experience allergic reactions to mussels.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

mussels have a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Do mussels have a high or low carbon footprint?

Mussels have a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of mussels?

It takes around 0.53 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of mussels, a car driving equivalent of 1.25 miles or 2 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

mussels are unsustainable. mussels side effects include being environmentally destructive.

side effects of seafood, unsustainable food that pollutes oceans with plastic

Overall, are mussels eco friendly? Are mussels sustainable?

Mussels production is relatively unsustainable. Whether farmed or wild caught, the seafood industry is environmentally destructive due to its direct impact on decreasing marine populations, polluting waters and habitat destruction.

Wild-caught fish and seafood is destructive due to overfishing (when populations die at a greater rate than they are able to replenish). Degraded ecosystems occur as a result and creates an imbalance that impacts important food chains. Consequently, vulnerable aquatic species like sea turtles and coral suffer. Scientists predict oceans will be fishless by 2048. Such a major loss in biodiversity would be catastrophic, as oceans regulate temperature and contribute to half of our oxygen on Earth.

There’s also an alarming amount of plastic pollution in our oceans. Abandoned and lost fishing gear make up more than 85% of all plastic pollution. Nets, traps and hooks continue to kill marine life. According to Greenpeace, “Abandoned fishing nets kill and injure more than 100,000 whales, dolphins, seals and turtles each year”.

Fish farming, or aquafarming, is not a sustainable alternative. Not only do farmed fish need to be fed fish to eat (perpetuating a never-ending cycle of fishing) but waters become contaminated with antibiotics (to prevent disease that inevitably occurs with overcrowded fish confinements), pesticides, parasites and fish feces. The toxic water then spreads to waterways and oceans, polluting ecosystems and eventually killing off wild fish populations.

All of the aforementioned fishing practices occur in order to meet global demand. The obvious solution for protecting our Earth’s oceans and waterways, marine habitats, ecosystems and wildlife is for consumers to significantly reduce or eliminate their seafood demand entirely.

mussels are not vegan. mussels side effects include killing animals for production.

seafood and fish is not vegan

Are mussels vegan?

No, mussels are not vegan. Mussels are mollusks, a living marine animal, therefore making it an animal-derived food. Mussels must be killed in order to produce mussels. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List

mussels have labor issues and human rights concerns. mussels side effects include worker mistreatment.

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues for the fishing industry

Are mussels a product that has known labor issues?

Yes. There are reports of serious worker mistreatment regarding the seafood industry. Mussels are a product that has human rights concerns.

There are high numbers of trafficked people promised work but then held at sea against their will. Boats filled with trafficked migrants do not dock, sometimes for years on end, keeping slave workers unseen and trapped at sea, continuing the forced labor. Recruiters trick migrants into thinking they must work to pay off their debts, referred to as “debt peonage”. There is little to no compensation for their work. Seafood caught illegally from slave worker boats gets mixed in with legal, commercial fishing boats in order to remain undetected.

Fishing workers everywhere are at risk of accident, injury, and death. Injuries include cuts, broken bones, lost fingers, hands and limbs, head injuries and electrocutions. Workers get caught in machinery, get thrown overboard and deaths are reported. Boats are in constant motion, decks are slippery and there can be hazardous machinery present.

Fishing industries around the world are responsible for systematic, illegal fishing practices and human rights abuse. Fishing workers are vulnerable to human trafficking and slave labor, especially in countries like Thailand (the third largest seafood exporter in the world), Burma, Indonesia and Fiji. Seafood slavery is a major issue for migrant workers originally from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

We improve lives around the world if we boycott problematic foods that are difficult for human rights authorities to regulate.

Sources:

mussels – FoodData Central

Native Freshwater Mussels

Adriane Marie

Grocery Guru, Material Maven, Conscious Consumer Connoisseur. I organize ethical info for us to comprehensively see how purchases impact people, animals and the planet. I hope you find HEALabel helpful! Use it for personal and global improvement and empowerment.

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