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Is Formalin Present In Your FISH

Is Formalin Present In Your FISH

Fish is extremely perishable as a result of rapid microbial growth naturally present in fish or from contamination. To preserve the fish there are natural and synthetic preservatives used. A natural preservative for longer shelf life is salt but adding salt can alter the taste of the product (Curing method).  Synthetic preservatives are widely used in fish storage to extend shelf life and maintain quality and safety is the use formalin.  

Formalin in Fish 

Preserve Specimen is the primary use of the formalin in the global scenario

Formalin (a chemical formaldehyde in water), a colorless and odorless preservative is the most common adulterant used by traders and suppliers to extend the storage life of fresh or chilled fish and artificially improve the sensory attributes. Formalin is used in fish either mixed with water used for ice or in water used for washing the fish or by injecting the solution in various parts of the fish e.g., Skin, Muscles, gills, mouth, abdomen, etc., Formalin is used in the case of long-distance chilled transportation of fish.

Causes of Formalin:

  1. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) WHO classifies formaldehyde as "carcinogenic to humans", with sufficient evidence for causing nasopharyngeal cancer in humans with occupational exposure, although no carcinogenicity is so far established through the ingestion route.
  2. The presence of formaldehyde in food at higher levels can lead to severe abdominal pain, vomiting, coma, renal injury, and possible death. For food handlers, it can lead to sensory irritation of the eyes and lungs, dermatitis, and asthma.

Status of formalin usage:

  1. In the case of the food industry, it is used as a bacteriostatic agent in cheese preparation (IARC, 1995.
  2. An approved aquaculture drug as per USFDA for the control of parasites and fungi in marine fish farming. Its usage is not permitted for aquaculture in Australia, Europe and Japan due to its carcinogenic effect.
  3. Formaldehyde is not permitted for use in foods as per Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011.

For a healthy lifestyle what VTF provides

  1. 100% traceability on the source of fish.
  2. Traceable cold chain of 0-4*c by the use of a datalogger while transporting fish through longer distances.
  3. Since fish is delivered at home in 20 hrs. of harvest there is zero necessity for preservative adding.

Bibliography and Coimbatore NEWS

  1. https://vikaspedia.in/health/health-campaigns/beware-of-adulteration/formalin-in-fish.
  2. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/VM061.
  3. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/traces-of-formalin-found-in-fish-sold-in-the-city/article30994363.ece.
  4. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/130-kg-of-fish-preserved-with-formalin-seized-in-salem/article66807330.ece.

 

Prepared by

Abin S.N        

(MSc Industrial Fisheries and Fish Biologist)

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