HYDERABAD: After the news about the presence of formalin, a carcinogen, in fish set alarm bells ringing among seafood lovers, Central Institute of Fisheries Technology - ICAR has developed a kit which can detect the presence of the chemical compound in just two minutes.
Though officials from the Telangana Fisheries Department said that there was no need to worry about the presence of formalin in fish sold in Telangana, they said the rapid test kits would be procured as the precautionary step. Formalin is a solution containing around 37 per cent of formaldehyde. According to guidelines recently issued by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and ICAR-CIFT, ingesting large amounts of formaldehyde can cause severe abdominal pain, vomiting coma, renal injury and possible death.
“WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies formaldehyde as a carcinogenic for human beings. Formaldehyde is not permitted for use in foods as per Food Safety and Standards Regulations 2011,” said the guidelines.
The chemical compound is used by some traders and suppliers to extend the storage life of fish or to make the fish shine which gives a false impression that the fish is fresh.
In Telangana, officials from State Fisheries Department said that traders who market fish bred in reservoirs and tanks within the state do not use formalin as it takes only three to four hours to transport fish between any two extreme points in the state. Earlier, officials said that it takes around 10 hours to transport fish from AP to Telangana and there was no need to add the chemical compound to keep the fish fresh.
How does the kit work?
CIF Test consists of a paper strip that changes colour if it detects the presence of formalin
The strip is swabbed over the surface of fish three to four times followed by one drop of reagent
Colour developed is compared with the standard chart provided