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What could be a brown line in the back of an already peeled shrimp?

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up vote 17 down vote accepted

That is the gastrointestinal tract of the shrimp. It is commonly called a vein or sand vein. It is often removed, but this is not required since it is not harmful and is mostly tasteless.

To devein a shrimp you would make a shallow cut from head to tail and then wipe or rinse out the vein under running water.

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I would think choosing not to remove it depends on the size of the shrimp. I really wouldn't want to eat the vein from a large shrimp. – Bill Mar 9 '11 at 23:20
It would certainly be unappetizing. – Jolenealaska Sep 25 '13 at 22:56

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