Oyster Sauce Side Effects + Benefits

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 07/03/22 •  12 min read

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

oyster sauce benefits and side effects

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 oyster sauce benefits and side effects.

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

After learning if oyster sauce 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 oyster sauce benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Must-Know Oyster Sauce Side Effects And Benefits

Health

Oyster sauce side effects may include:

Additionally, oyster sauce is…

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Environment

Water footprint: unknown

Carbon footprint: likely high, 11.41 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of farmed, frozen oysters, a car driving equivalent of 26.75 miles or 43 kilometers

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

Oyster sauce is…

Animals

Kills: oysters, a type of mollusk and shellfish

Harms: oysters, a type of mollusk and shellfish, 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

Oyster sauce is…

Laborers

Health and safety: hazardous, fishing workers are at risk of accident, injury, and death, reports show 20% of workers and almost 50% of trafficked victims have been injured on the job, injuries include cuts, broken bone, lost fingers, hands and limbs, head injuries, electrocutions, workers get caught in machinery, get thrown overboard, deaths are reported, boat decks are slippery and in constant motion, there can be hazardous machinery present

Living conditions: poor, fishing boats often lack toilets, intensive labor, rapid exhaustion, workers are held at sea and work against their will, they load catch onto bigger, commercial fishing boats in exchange for food and supplies, seafood caught illegally from slave worker boats gets mixed in with legal, commercial fishing boats in order to remain undetected, boats filled with trafficked migrants do not dock, sometimes for years, keeping slave workers unseen, trapped at sea, continuing forced labor and abuse, fishing industries around the world are responsible for systematic, illegal, fishing practices, human rights abuse, fishing workers are vulnerable to human trafficking and slave labor, 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, seafood consumed in the United States is mostly from foreign sources

Wages: low, recruiters promise well paying jobs to poor, unskilled and vulnerable laborers, recruiters trick migrants into thinking they must work to pay off their debts, referred to as “debt peonage”, and little to no compensation for their work is given for long periods and maybe even years and are paid below the minimum wage 

Oyster sauce…

Where do most oysters come from? 📍

China is the world’s leading oyster producer, with 80% of total world production, followed by Korea, Japan, the USA and the EU.

Is oyster sauce healthy? 🥗

Oyster sauce does not have any cholesterol and does not have significant amount of vitamins and minerals, nor protein or fiber but is high in sodium.

Most oyster sauces available on the market contain added monosodium glutamate (MSG). Not good!

Furthermore, most seafood and seafood products nowadays are likened to “mercury sponges” so beware that any and all seafood products have a chance of containing mercury…which will never be listed on the label but should be!

oyster sauce is acidic. oyster sauce side effects include not fitting into an alkaline diet.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Is oyster sauce alkaline or acidic?

Oyster sauce is acidic.

What is the pH level of oyster sauce?

Oysters have a 6.0 pH level once digested. Shellfish is an acidic food group.

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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oyster sauce often contains gluten.

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

Is oyster sauce gluten free? No, oyster sauce typically contains gluten due to added wheat flour which is a thickener. There are gluten-free oyster some sauces available on the market but they are not common.

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

oyster sauce is a common food allergen: crustacean shellfish and wheat. oyster sauce side effects include being dangerous for some.

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

Is oyster sauce a common food allergen?

Yes, oyster sauce is a common food allergen: crustacean shellfish and wheat.

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

oyster sauce likely has a high carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does oyster sauce have a high or low carbon footprint? Oyster sauce likely has a relatively high carbon footprint.

What is the carbon footprint of quince? It takes around 11.41 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of farmed, frozen oysters, a car driving equivalent of 26.75 miles or 43 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

oyster sauce is unsustainable.

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

Overall, is oyster sauce eco friendly? Is oyster sauce sustainable?

No, oyster sauce production is unsustainable, there is significant damage to air and water. Oyster sauce production is relatively destructive, negatively impacting marine ecosystems, which involve discarded fishing nets that pollute oceans, fishing that damages coral, sponges and poses and an overall severe threat to marine habitats.

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.

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.

Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’

oyster sauce is not vegan. oyster sauce side effects include killing animals in the production process.

Is oyster sauce vegan?

No, oyster sauce is not vegan. Oyster sauce is made from oysters, a type of marine animal, therefore making it an animal-derived food. A mollusk must be killed in order to produce oyster sauce. 

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

oyster sauce has labor issues and human rights concerns.

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

Is oyster sauce a product that has known labor issues? Yes, oyster fishing has some serious human rights issues.

Recruiters promise well paying jobs to poor, unskilled and vulnerable laborers, recruiters trick migrants into thinking they must work to pay off their debts, referred to as “debt peonage”, and little to no compensation for their work.

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

Fishing boats using such migrant workers often lack toilets. They must work for long hours, intensive labor, and experience rapid exhaustion. Workers are held at sea and work against their will. They load their catch onto bigger, commercial  fishing boats in exchange for food and supplies. Seafood caught illegally from slave worker boats gets mixed in with legal, commercial fishing boats in order to remain undetected. The boats filled with trafficked migrants do not dock, sometimes for years on end, keeping the slave workers unseen and trapped at sea, continuing the forced labor and abuse.

Fishing industries around the world are responsible for systematic, illegal, fishing practices human rights abuse. Fishing workers are vulnerable to human trafficking and slave labor, 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. Seafood in United States is mostly from foreign sources. Only 3% of fish and shellfish is from American territory. Many developed countries depend on imported seafood.

Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade

This post was all about oyster sauce side effects and benefits.

Sources:

Sauce, oyster, ready-to-serve – FoodData Central

World Wide Fund for Nature: Overfishing

Animal equality: 4 WAYS THE FISHING INDUSTRY IS DESTROYING THE PLANET

Human rights watch: Hidden Chains Rights Abuses and Forced Labor in Thailand’s Fishing Industry

International Labour Office: Caught at sea

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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