COIMBATORE: The recent discovery of several kilograms of formalin-laced and spoiled fishes at Ukkadam Fish Market has put the spotlight on the hygienic standards practised by the fish traders.
While the traders rule out possibilities of handling chemicals to preserve fishes for longer hours, the officials of the Food Safety Department stated that consuming formalin-laced fish might lead to allergies.
Based on the directions of the Collector K Rajamani, the officials of the Food Safety and Fisheries Department conducted raids at various places to prevent the usages of chemicals.
On Sunday, the food safety department seized 20 kg of spoiled fishes from four traders in Pollachi.
The designated officer (food safety department) K Tamil Selvan said that the fish could stay fresh just for three to four days. However, the freshness would stay longer if formalin is used. He said, “The formalin is mixed with ice cubes to preserve the fishes. One could experience a pungent odour from the chemical-laced fishes and if cooked, the gravy emanates chlorine smell.”
The department could find the chemical-laced fishes with a rapid detection kit. “A fresh fish will rebound if we press it. We are planning for an awareness meeting to educate the fish traders on health complications when consuming formalin-laced fishes,” Tamil Selvan added. Frequent consumption of chemical-laced fishes could finally lead to cancer, he stated.
Recently, the officials seized nearly 70 kg of formalin-laced fish and around 430 kg of spoiled fish from the Ukkadam Fish Market.
On the other hand, the fish traders said that they are concerned about the health conscience of the consumers and claimed they are not using the formalin as a preservative.
President of Coimbatore District Fish Merchants Association H S Bawa said, “We are purchasing fish from various places including Odisha, Calicut, Mangalore, Ramanathapuram, Andhra Pradesh. None of the ice cube factories from the Coimbatore region is using formalin.”
He said that they would be taking part in a meeting with the Food Safety and Fisher Department soon. “We are planning to request the officials to provide us with a rapid detection kit to identify the formalin content in the fish or ice cube,” Bawa added.
Precautions to be taken before cooking fish
- Wash your fish thoroughly before cooking and discard the water.
- Cook fish thoroughly to 75°C as heat from cooking can also aid the removal of formaldehyde because it is volatile.
- After repeated washing also, if there is any kind of obnoxious smell or texture, report to concerned food safety authorities.
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