News & Events

Official Statement

Nematodes in canned fish
9th July 2018

Following the recent media buzz relating to the occasional finding of nematodes in canned fish, the MFCA would like to provide the following clarification to the public.

Marine nematodes of the genus Anisakis are the most common parasites found in fish and seafood. They can be found in marine and fresh water fish, as well as in cephalopods (squid, octopus, cuttlefish). The life cycle of the Anisakis involves several hosts, from crustaceans to fish and marine mammals, through the marine food chain. This is a natural occurrence and they have always been found in fish and seafood.

The parasites Anisakis are not classified as a health risk for the fish canning industry by the world food authorities, because these nematodes are easily killed by freezing the fish core at a temperature of -20°C for 24 hours or by heating the fish at a temperature of 60°C for 1 minute.

Further information can be found on the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization United Nations) website: http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/y4743e/y4743e0c.htm

Canned fish in Malaysia are prepared with frozen fish and are also subject to strong heat treatments. The canned fish products are thermally processed (sterilization process, which consists of heating the finished product to more than 100°C for more than an hour) to achieve commercial sterility, which is more than adequate to ensure the inactivation of parasites, along with other heat resistant bacteria. The canned fish products are safe for consumption.

The incidental presence of Anisakis in canned products does not present any health hazard, but MFCA's members acknowledge that proper presentation and consumers' perception of the finished products are of utmost importance. Therefore, MFCA's members have implemented due diligence processes at their factories to remove the nematodes from frozen fish before the canning process. Our Malaysian factories are committed to consistently producing safe and high quality canned fish products.

With the above explanation, MFCA's members would like to assure the public that they have taken the utmost care to ensure the safety and quality of the products.

MFCA's members strive to continuously improve Malaysian manufacturing practices in order to maintain the highest standards and to meet the expectations of their loyal customers and of future generations.

Malaysian Food Canners' Association.
For more information, please contact: secretariat@mfca.org.my or info@mfca.org.my