Banned antibiotic is naturally present in prawns
Research done by Ghent University (Belgium) and the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute in Belfast (Northern Ireland) on the presence of illegal antibiotic residues in giant freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) from Bangladesh found that semicarbazide was naturally present in the animals.
Semicarbazide (SEM) - the metabolic marker of the banned veterinary drug nitrofurazone - was found to be primarily present in the shell of all the animals and, further, appears as a natural component of all crustacean species tested, such as crabs, prawns and shrimp.
Ghent University and the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute both conducted the research separately and independently in response to more than 50 Rapid Alerts issued by the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) in 2009. Consignments of shrimp from Bangladesh were found to have detection levels of SEM higher than the ones permitted (1 ppb).
Dr Christof van Poucke (Ghent) and Dr Glenn Kennedy (Belfast) determined that semicarbazide was present as a natural component in laboratory-grown prawns in the Ghent-based Laboratory of Aquaculture and to wild caught freshwater prawns from Bangladesh.
The metabolic route for SEM production in animals remains unknown; a fundamental role in protein synthesis is a possibility.
As a result of the finding new legislation has been applied. And while improvements in laboratory analytical capacity continue a traceability scheme from hatchery to export has been set up.
For further ensuring food safety in Bangladesh in the long-term a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Union (EU)-supported aquaculture educational institute called the Aquaculture and Aquatic Food Safety Centre (AAFSC) has been established.,
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