Safety of Frozen Shrimp Imported through Entry Points in Selangor, Malaysia
The presence of antibiotic residues in food raises significant public health concerns as it may result in increased antimicrobial resistance in human pathogens. Recently the United States of America issued an import alert on shrimp from Peninsular Malaysia after detecting illegal and unsafe levels of drug residues in thirty two percent of samples tested over a one-year period. As local investigations at aquaculture farms could not detect drug residues at farm level, transshipment of imported prawns was suspected. The Food Safety and Quality Department of the Selangor State Health Department, Port Klang Health Office, Selangor Food Safety and Quality Laboratory and National Public Health Laboratory conducted a study to assess the safety of imported shrimps through sampling at entry points through which frozen prawns are actively imported. Analysis of nitrofuran, chloramphenicol, malachite green and crystal-violet were carried out through Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry at two Laboratories on one hundred and forty seven samples taken over a four month period but none were found to contain drug residues. The results which indicate a total absence of drug residues in frozen shrimp from the region are reassuring but somewhat surprising and suggest the use of analytical methods with a higher sensitivity.