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FDA: Some shrimp imported from Malaysia not fit for consumption

By Shawn Price

WASHINGTON, April 21 (UPI) -- The Food and Drug Administration has issued an import alert on shrimp and prawn from Peninsular Malaysia, saying some contain antibiotics unfit for human consumption.

Testing in 2015 found up to one-third of the Malaysian imports contain "residues of nitrofurans and chloramphenicol," which are banned in the United States. The FDA also said it would detain any shipments of the shrimp and prawn, without inspection, from entering U.S. ports.

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Despite Malaysia banning the drugs as well, the FDA said it continues "to find residues of these drugs in shrimp and prawns from peninsular Malaysia exported to the United States."

Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Tajuddin Abdul Rahman tried to reassure importers and the public: "We will check the report by the U.S. FDA and if we find it to be true, we will take necessary action to make sure exporters comply with the U.S. government rules and standards."

The antibiotics nitrofurans and chloramphenicol can prevent disease in prawns and shrimp but are harmful for humans to eat.

Malaysia is one of the top exporters of the seafood to the United States, exporting more than 8,000 tons last year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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