The European Commission has put off easing restrictions on Thai shrimp imports after a banned chemical was discovered in a batch in Italy.

On 23 January European Union chief veterinary officers decided to stop testing all imports and revert to the standard testing of 10% of frozen shrimp imports from Thailand. The decision has yet to be adopted by the commission.

"We have postponed the decision to allow us time to investigate the rapid alert we received from Italy," a Commission spokeswoman, Beate Gminder, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Gminder said the potentially cancer-causing antibiotic nitrofuran was discovered in Thai shrimp imports in Italy a week ago.