No prohibited antibiotics found in local shrimp samples, says fisheries dept

The Fisheries Department says those responsible for exports of shrimps with excessive antibiotics have ceased operations. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: No traces of prohibited antibiotics have been detected in the 2,466 samples of local shrimps sent for analysis at the Fisheries Biosecurity laboratory since 2008, according to the Fisheries Department.

It said the ban on exports of Malaysian shrimps, imposed by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), did not involve the entire export of aquaculture products from Malaysia.

It only applies to shrimp exporters whose shipments were found tainted with the prohibited antibiotics.

“It is learnt that the exporters concerned have ceased operations,” said the department in a statement today.

The statement followed a news report that the ban on the export of Malaysian shrimps imposed by USFDA was due to the use of prohibited antibiotics at shrimp farms in the country.

The Fisheries Department said it viewed the report as serious because it could give a negative perception of the shrimp industry in Malaysia.

It said the department was conducting agriculture residue monitoring as well as a sanitary and phytosanitary aquaculture programme at shrimp farms in the country.

Action was taken against those found to be using prohibited antibiotics.

“Samples of the shrimps and fish at the farms are sent for analysis to monitor their antibiotic contents, such as chloramphenicol (CAP), nitrofuran (NF) and nitroimidazole (NI),” it said.

It said some countries, such as Australia, have recognised the department’s role in issuing the fish health certificate, including for fish products exported to the country.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) had never detected CAP or NF in shipments of shrimp imported from Malaysia.

Malaysia produces nearly 50,000 tonnes of shrimps a year or 13% of the country’s aquaculture production volume.

“The industry, involving 1,200 shrimp farmers, 40 shrimp hatcheries and 15 processing plants, contributes about RM1.3 billion, or 45% of the total fisheries exports,” said the department.