US FDA may detain imports of Malaysian prawns, shrimp

PETALING JAYA: The United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it may detain imports of shrimp and prawns from Malaysia after finding traces of nitrofurans and chloramphenicol in shipments.

The agency said that it is placing companies processing or shipping shrimp and prawns from peninsular Malaysia on Import Alert, which means that their shipments could be detained at the port of entry without physical examination.

Sabah and Sarawak were excluded from the import alert, it added.

“The agency has requested that the Malaysian government investigate the cause of the residue problem and develop a program of short-term and long-term actions to prevent the export of violative shrimp from Malaysia to the United States,” the FDA said in a statement on Tuesday.

Malaysia has banned the use of of chloramphenicol and nitrofurans in seafood farm operations, but the FDA said it had continued to find traces of both drugs in the imported shrimps and prawns.

The agency revealed that a test on 138 samples of shrimp and prawns from Malaysia between Oct 2014 and Sept 2015 yielded 45 samples containing residues of chloramphenicol or nitrofurans, which are not permitted in US commerce.

“For that reason, FDA is today placing companies processing and/or shipping shrimp and prawns from peninsular Malaysia on Import Alert. Import alerts such as this one are one way that the FDA protects U.S. consumers and ensures that food is safe and wholesome,” the agency added.

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