Friday, May 24, 2024

M’sia finds parasitic worms in China canned sardine

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Malaysian authorities have detected parasites in a shipment of canned sardine weighing over 16 tonnes imported from China via Singapore, Malaysian media reported.

Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (Maqis) said that samples taken from the batch were contaminated with anisakis worms, a type of parasite that, if ingested, can cause an infection with symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

On March 27, the shipment worth RM83,879 (S$23,864) from China reached Singapore before entering Malaysia via lorry without an import permit, according to Malay Mail.

The shipment of sardines was seized at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) checkpoint in Johor Bahru.

The officers took the statement of the lorry driver, 30, before letting him go.

It was not clear if the canned sardine was sold in Singapore.

ST has contacted the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and Maqis for comment.

If convicted of importing items that contained pests, diseases or contaminants in Malaysia, one can be fined up to RM100,000, jailed for up to six years, or both.

According to a 2020 University of Washington study, there had been a 283-fold increase in anisakis globally since the 1970s. While the researchers were not entirely sure of the cause of the surge, they thought that climate change, more nutrients from fertilisers and run-off, and an increase in marine mammal populations were some of the possible reasons.

In 2023, a woman in Singapore found a parasitic worm moving in her sashimi rice bowl bought from Don Don Donki at 100 AM mall in Tanjong Pagar.

The SFA said at that time that ready-to-eat raw fish is considered a high-risk food as it does not go through a cooking process., and added that vulnerable people with lower immunity system should not consume raw fish.

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