The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Maharashtra has decided to test fish samples after the Goan government has banned fish import from other states reports The Hindu. The ban was implemented as a precautionary measure after formalin was found in fish that came by various consignments to Goa.
Testing Fish For Safety
“During monsoon, a majority of fish supply comes from other States. After Goa has found formalin-laced fish in several consignments, we have to start our precautionary tests too,” Pallavi Darade, FDA commissioner told The Hindu. She also said that inspectors from the FDA will be randomly testing fish samples collected from retail outlets, fish markets and suppliers.
For public safety the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has released a document on dos and don’ts before eating sea food yesterday reports The Hindu. Basic measures include washing the fish thoroughly under running water so that the formaldehyde gets dissolved in it and washes off the fish. Also, the fish should be cooked so that it heats up to 75°C on the inside.
Why Is Formaldehyde Harmful
The FSSAI says that a large amount of formaldehyde consumption can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, coma, renal injury and prove even fatal to humans. Also, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organisation has declared the chemical ‘carcinogenic to humans’ and has found it to be a cause of nasopharyngeal cancer.
So why is the chemical used on fish? It’s used to keep the fish fresher for longer and it evens makes it look fresh. Another reason is that it is easily accessible to the fish traders and suppliers. The Hindu further reports that when there is dearth of good quality ice harvest centres and lack of warehousing facility for mass storage, is also another reason that fish sellers use formaldehyde.