KUALA TERENGGANU – Consuming turtle meat on a regular basis should be stopped as it can result in chronic diseases that can even lead to death.
Marine Biology lecturer Dr Muhammad Hafiz Borkhanuddin, who is attached to the Faculty of Science and Marine Environment, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu said turtles have high metal content that exceeds international food safety standards.
“This can cause toxic effects and result in several illnesses such as kidney disease, liver cancer, as well as affect fetal development.
“Besides that, turtle meat also has bacteria, parasites, biotoxins and bacterial accumulation resulting from environmental pollution,” he told Bernama today.
Currently, turtle meat is sold in the black market to meet the demand of exotic food enthusiasts both locally and abroad where the demand also makes Malaysia an easy spot to get the endangered animal species.
Muhammad Hafiz said if this practice continues, the next generation would no longer be able to see turtles up close urging all parties concerned to play their role in curbing the black market trade of turtle meat.
“From a parasitological perspective, there are many reports that record the presence of eggs and parasitic worms in turtles such as trematoda worms. Adult trematode parasites are found mainly in the heart, while trematoda eggs can be found in various organs including the brain, heart, liver, lungs, spleen, kidneys, stomach, intestines, and also in the skin.
“Therefore, consuming turtle meat and egg should be stopped to reduce the health effects on humans and there is also a need to increase public knowledge on this matter.
“For Muslims, there is a ban on eating turtle meat that has been issued by the Federal Territory Mufti’s Office on animals that live both on land and in water, such as frogs, crocodiles and other similar animals,” he said.