Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Detection kit for ammonia & formaldehyde adulteration in fish unveiled
Thursday, 01 February, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
Agriculture and farmers’ welfare minister, Radha Mohan Singh, launched rapid detection kits for adulterants such as ammonia and formaldehyde in fresh fish in New Delhi recently. They were developed by the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Kochi.

While ammonia helps in preventing ice from melting, the use of formaldehyde increases the shelf life of fish. Therefore, many people in the fisheries sector use these chemicals. The kit helps in detecting both the chemicals in the fish.

At the launch of the kit, which helps in detecting ammonia and formaldehyde, Singh said the continuous ingestion of these chemicals can lead to many health issues, including abdominal pain, vomiting and unconsciousness, and may even cause death.

He added that fish consumption was beneficial for health. Since fresh fish is highly perishable in nature, it doesn’t have a long shelf life. India’s domestic fish market is reported to be selling formaldehyde-adulterated fish, especially in markets located away from the landing centres or production sites.

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

The minister said, “Continuous monitoring of these contaminants in a laboratory is time-consuming and requires expertise. However, 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,” he added.

Taking these aspects into consideration, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (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.

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

For handling, processing, storage, transportation and display for sale of fish and fish products, only cold chain should be used.
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