Business Standard

Govt launches kits to detect use of chemicals in fresh fish


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh today launched kits to detect chemical adulterants -- ammonia and formaldehyde -- in fresh fish.

The use of chemicals to increase shelf life of fish is leading to many health issues.

The Rapid Detection Kits for adulterants in fresh fish have been developed by the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Kochi.

"Ammonia helps in preventing ice from melting and use of formaldehyde increases the shelf life of fish therefore many people in the fisheries sector are using these chemicals. The kit helps in detecting both the chemicals in the fish," an official statement said.

Singh informed that continuous ingestion of ammonia and formaldehyde can lead to many health issues including abdominal pain, vomiting, unconsciousness, and sometimes can even cause death.

Formaldehyde is potential cancer-inducing chemical, which is a major health concern, therefore, its use needs to be curbed.

Stating that fish consumption is beneficial for health, Singh said: "Since fresh fish is highly perishable in nature, so fish don't have a long shelf life. India's domestic fish market is reported to be selling formaldehyde-adulterated fish, especially in markets located far away from landing centres or production sites."

According to Indian and global regulations, the fresh fish and shellfish should be preserved only by means of ice and use of substances other than ice to maintain quality is a fraudulent practice.

The minister said that continuous monitoring of these contaminants in a laboratory is time-consuming and requires expertise but some people use toxic chemicals in the form of contaminated substances.

Today's consumer is conscious about the food quality and safety issues and they need rapid, sensitive, and portable screening methods.

ICAR-CIFT has developed two rapid detection kits for checking adulteration of fresh fish with formaldehyde and ammonia.

The kits are handy and consist of simple paper strips, reagent solution, and standard chart for comparing results.

The government said that only cold chain should be used for handling, processing, storage, transportation, and display for sale of fish and fish products.

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First Published: Jan 30 2018 | 7:00 PM IST

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