‘Parasite Found In Canned Fish Causes No Health Risk – Merely Repugnant’ Health Services Deputy Director Says

Deputy Director General of Health Services, Dr. Lakshman Gamlath says that the parasite found in canned fish caused no health risk, but were merely repugnant.

“Once the fish is processed and canned, these worms die. Thus, there is no health risk, but it is repugnant,” he said.

74 containers of canned fish were recently rejected due to the presence of the Anisakid worm, a form of parasites that live on the flesh of the fish, in the sea.

“It is only if a raw fish containing this parasite is consumed, that there is a health risk, as the parasite can enter the body,” the Deputy Director said.

He said the consignment containing the worms was first detected two months ago and since then, Health Services has remained vigilant and tested each and every stock.

“I can guarantee that no stocks with worms entered the country for the last two months. We tested 184 containers thus far, out of which 117 were positive for parasites,” he said.

He did however say he could not vouch for any stocks that entered the country prior to these two months.

A highly placed source within the Ministry of Health said the Ministry is currently working to ensure none of the stocks containing parasites reach the market via illegal channels.

Public Health Inspectors (PHI) around the country have been informed to withdraw canned fish with batch numbers that have been identified as from the rejected stocks.

Dr. Gamlath said it was not one particular brand, but certain batches belonging to different brands that have been found to be unsuitable for consumption.

It was found that the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI), responsible for testing the samples, had not been checking each and every batch. 

Sri Lanka Customs detected the consignment and decided to return the consignment back to the importers, China and Thailand, in accordance with the Food Act.

Consignments of imported canned fish being rejected is a normal occurrence, however this time an alarm was raised because a large consignment containing 136,8816kg worth Rs. 380 million was rejected, said Customs sources. (GID) 








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