Malaysia health ministry finds 6 more brands of canned fish contaminated with worms

PETALING JAYA – The Health Ministry has found six more brands of canned sardines to be contaminated with roundworms.

This comes after two canned sardine brands from China – TL Tan Lung and TLC – were recalled after they were found to be contaminated with roundworms.

“The Health Ministry through the food safety and quality division has been monitoring imported canned fish (sardine and mackerel) in the local market,” said Health director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a statement on Thursday (June 28).

Apart from the recalled TL Tan Lung and TLC brand canned sardines, the Ministry found six more canned fish brands that were also contaminated with roundworms.

The six products contaminated with roundworms are canned sardine brands from Cinta, Sea Fresh and HS Brand as well as mackerel fish in tomato sauce from the King Cup, Star Cup and TC Boy brands.

The Ministry said the worms are from the genus Anisakis spp, which causes the anisakiasis disease in humans that normally occurs when humans eat seafood such as raw or not fully cooked fish infected with the Anisakis spp parasite.

Anisakiasis is a parasitic and zoonotic disease brought about by a congenital fish causing the nematode (worm) that attacks the gastrointestinal system such as the stomach and intestines of humans and can cause gastrointestinal problems or symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.

However, Dr Noor Hisham assured that the health risk in the contaminated canned fish products is “very low” because the worms would have died during the cooking process.

“The Ministry has taken action against the companies involved and has ordered the products to be withdrawn from the market,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

He said the Ministry has imposed a “Seize, Test and Release” action on the imported canned fish products at all entry points to Malaysia.

The “Seize, Test and Release” action is where samples will be taken for analysis and the product will only be released if the results finds that there is no contamination.

“Meanwhile for all locally produced canned fish products, the Ministry will carry out inspections at all production plants,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

If consumers have any concerns or complaints regarding food security, they can contact the State Health Department or the nearest District Health Office. Consumers can also contact the Health Ministry through their website or Facebook, or the Ministry’s Safety and Food Quality Division’s Facebook page.