Shrimp paste is one of the staple food condiments in Malaysia. This research was conducted to evaluate the mutagenic activity of local shrimp paste, and to estimate the actual intake among the Malaysian population. Two types of shrimp paste, produced from a factory and small scale industry (SSI), were sampled from Melaka, Malaysia and extracted with aqueous and methanol solvent. Ames Test was used to determine the mutagenicity potential of shrimp paste using Salmonella thyphimurium TA98 and TA100 bacterial strains.

There were mutagenic activities in methanol extracts of shrimp paste from SSI at 25 mg/ml and 50 mg/ml without the presence of metabolic activator S9 in TA98 strain. In the presence of metabolic activation, the same extract showed mutagenicity response at 50 mg/ml in TA 98 strain. a Semi Quantitative Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) was used to evaluate the actual intake of shrimp paste among the population using multistage random sampling. The mean daily intake of shrimp paste was 1.41±0.27 g/day. Heavy metal analyses were also determined by ICP-MS. Arsenic (As) and Lead (Pb) were found to exceed the limit of Malaysian Food Act 1983 and Food Regulation 1985 (As from factory = 8.69±1.67 mg/kg, As from SSI = 12.14±2.32 mg/kg, Pb from SSI = 10.23±1.12 mg/kg).

From this study, it has been observed that the daily intakes of As, Pb, Cd and Hg in shrimp paste is much lower than the provisional tolerable weekly intakes (PTWI) given by FAO/WHO and could not be considered harmful to the population. The outcome of this research can be used as baseline data for the safe intake of shrimp paste as a daily condiment in Malaysia.

Keywords: Shrimp paste / Mutagenicity / Daily intake / Heavy metal / Risk assessment. .


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  • Received: 15 May 2012
  • Accepted: 15 May 2012
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