The UK Food Standards Agency is to start a precautionary testing programme for nitrofurans in shrimps and prawns from Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand, and poultry meat from Thailand, the agency reported this week.
This action follows European Commission discussions and decisions over recent weeks in relation to products of animal original from China and SE Asia.
Concern relates to the controls on the use of veterinary medicines in China and unacceptable and illegal drug residues that have been found in foods from China and other SE Asian countries.
The Food Standards Agency has conducted a number of precautionary tests on foods from China and SE Asia since concerns were first raised.
The findings, which resulted in product recalls and withdrawals in the UK, have been sent to the EC with a view to European Union-wide action to protect the consumer.
These moves in Europe have not gone unnoticed in Asia. On Monday, Thai Commerce Minister Adisai Bhodaramik said that the government is set to take serious action against the use of banned antibiotics in livestock and prawn feed in an effort to avoid import bans by the European Trade Commission. The state will now check all frozen food containers to ensure that they do not contain any banned materials.
But the FSA stressed that it is currently not advising against the general consumption of prawns and shrimps from Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand, nor Thai chicken.
Full results of the Agency's new testing programme will shortly be published, together with any appropriate advice to consumers.