The European Union may ban seafood imports from Malaysia over health concerns, officials and a report said Tuesday.
The possible suspension follows an April visit by EU health inspectors to Malaysia's seafood processing companies and their facilities after earlier warning of shortcomings in the industry, said Geert Anckaert, a senior official at the European Commission office here.
EU officials had in 2005 discovered shortfalls in the safety of Malaysian seafood exports but subsequently launched a program to help educate local officials about EU's health regulations, he said.
"The outcome is still under consideration," Anckaert told The Associated Press, adding that a decision will be made by June 18. He declined to give details.
The Star daily, citing an EU draft on the matter, said two-thirds of Malaysian vessels and establishments visited didn't comply with the EU's strict hygiene and other regulations on fishery imports.
The EU is also concerned about a lack of traceability and countermeasures to check the spread of diseases, the report said.
A spokesman for Malaysia's Fisheries Department, who declined to be named citing protocol, said there had been complaints on the way fish and seafood were being transported to ports such as lack of wash basins onboard.
Noraini Mohamad Othman, a Health Ministry official in charge of food safety, said authorities were addressing the issues but declined to comment further.
Last year, Malaysia exported fish and other aquatic products worth