Two containers carrying canned sardines were seized by the authorities after they were found to have contained worms
A Bernama report yesterday, 26 June, revealed that the Department of Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Service (MAQIS) seized the goods from China that were brought in through the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) in Penang on 14 May.
In a statement, MAQIS said that the goods that weigh approximately 36,720kg were 'Canned Mackerel in Tomato Sauce' products from a brand known as Ranesa, Sinar Harian reported. The total worth was RM199,797.24, MAQIS added.
It was learned that the authorities had conducted physical examination and sampling on some of the goods, which led to the discovery that the sardines were tainted with worms
According to MAQIS director-general Datuk Mokhtaruddin Husain, the worms were likely to be from the genus Anisakis spp. which causes the Anisakiasis disease in humans.
Anisakiasis is a parasitic disease that is normally caused by the consumption of raw or undercooked seafood that is infected with the Anisakis spp. parasite.
In his statement, Mokhtaruddin said humans infected by this disease would typically experience gastrointestinal problems or symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting.
MAQIS said the case is still under investigation, pending further action to ensure that such an issue will not be repeated in the future
It is an offence to import any plant, animal, carcass, fish, agricultural product, soil, or microorganism with pests, diseases, or contaminants, as per Section 14 of the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Act 2011.
Mokhtaruddin reportedly said that importers need to obtain permits for any import of sardines. He stressed that all importers must comply with the regulations even after they have obtained their permits to ensure that imported goods are clean and safe for consumption.
Utusan Malaysia also reported that MAQIS, a department established under the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry (MOA), has moved to gazette and control the 57 gateways across the country to ensure that all imported and exported items are always free from life-threatening contaminated substances in light of the recent incident.
In April, the Ministry of Health recalled two canned sardine products from China after they were found to be tainted with dead worms: