Fri, Oct 26, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Chinese shrimp shipment was tainted: officials

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

A shipment of frozen white shrimp imported from China in June has been found to contain enrofloxacin, an antimicrobial that is not approved for use in fish farming, with much of the shipment believed to have been sold to consumers, a Department of Health official said yesterday.

Cheng Huei-wen (鄭慧文), the director-general of the department's Bureau of Food Sanitation, said the problematic 20 tonne shrimp shipment was imported by a company in Taoyuan County. The bureau has requested that the Taoyuan County Government attempt to recall the shrimp.

`not serious'

Cheng said that enrofloxacin is sometimes administered to prevent the reproduction of bacteria in humans. He said the antimicrobial had no serious impact on human health, although it could cause gastrointestinal discomfort, allergies or the formation of crystals in the urinary tract.

The Council of Agriculture prohibits the use of the drug in animal and fish farming in order to prevent the evolution of drug resistant bacteria, he said.

pathogen

In 2005, the US Food and Drug Administration reported that enrofloxacin had been found to promote the development of drug-resistant strains of Campylobacter, a human pathogen.

The Department of Health banned imports of frozen shrimp from China on Aug. 22 after detecting a carcinogenic drug in seven shrimp shipments, Cheng said, adding that shrimp imported from China before that date may still be on the market.

Cheng said his department had authorized the National Animal Industry Foundation to inspect shrimp samples acquired in Pingtung County on Sept. 3 under a program to monitor aquatic product quality.

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