Social media has been abuzz recently with netizens warning the public against consuming canned sardines products imported from China
Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement yesterday, 19 April, that the ministry has taken note of a report claiming that canned sardines products from China were contaminated with dead worms.
"The report stated that the Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency (BPOM) in Indonesia ordered three importers of the canned sardines to withdraw their products from the market after tests showed that dead worms were found in their products imported from China," he said.
Through the MOH's Food Safety and Quality Division (FSQD), the authorities have been monitoring the imported food products including canned sardines and mackerel
Analysis by the division, which is responsible for all matters related to preparation, sale, and use of food to protect the public against health hazards and fraud, found that the TL Tan Lung Canned Sardines in Tomato Sauce produced by Fujian Yongfa and TLC Sardines in Tomato Sauce produced by Dongshan Dongyi Foods did not comply with the food safety standards as per the Food Act 1983.
According to the ministry, the products were tainted with nematodes (Genus Anisakis spp), a type of parasite worm.
Back in March, Indonesia's Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency (BPOM) found that 27 brands of canned mackerel were contaminated with threadworms
According to BPOM head Penny Kusumastuti Lukito, out of the 27 brands, 16 brands are imported while the remaining 11 are local products.
It was reported that BPOM had examined 541 fish samples from 66 brands of canned fish distributed across the country.
The agency's team also conducted investigations to trace the origin of the contaminated products, including the waters from which the fish were taken.
"We found that they had come from Chinese waters and the surrounding area," Penny was quoted as saying by The Jakarta Post.
In light of the findings by FSQD, both brands of canned sardines have been recalled by the MOH
"The Health Ministry will continue to monitor imported canned sardine and mackerel products at all the entry points and shops nationwide," said Noor Hisham.
He added that enforcement action will be taken if products do not comply with the 1983 Food Act.
Members of the public who have any doubts, concerns, or complaints related to hygiene and food safety can direct their queries to the State Health Departments or District Health Offices nearest to them. They may also contact the Ministry Of Health online through its website or the Food Safety and Quality Division through its Facebook Page.
Earlier this month, the MOH shared an image debunking several misconceptions and myths related to health: