The Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services (Maqis) has revealed that it found worms that can cause the anisakiasis disease in samples of a brand of sardines from China brought in through the North Butterworth Container Terminal in Penang on May 14.
Maqis director-general Mokhtaruddin Husain said the worms were discovered through physical examination and sampling conducted on several sardine cans that arrived in two containers with an estimated weight of 36,720kg and valued at about RM200,000.
The containers were subsequently seized, he said in a statement yesterday.
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He said the worms were likely from the genus Anisakis spp which causes the anisakiasis disease in humans. This disease normally occurs when humans eat seafood such as raw fish or fish not fully cooked and infected with the Anisakis spp parasite, he said.
Anisakiasis is a parasitic and zoonotic disease brought about by a congenital fish causing the Anisakis spp nematode (worm) that attacks the gastrointestinal system such as the stomach and intestines of humans. It can cause gastrointestinal problems or symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.
Mokhtaruddin said the act of importing any plant, animal, carcass, fish, agricultural product, soil or microorganism with pests, diseases or contaminants was an offence under Section 14 of the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Act 2011.
The case is being investigated for further action, he said.