CIFT- FSSAI release guidelines for formalin usage in fish


The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Cochin, have co-developed a document that highlights key precautions which should be taken by consumer, traders and lab technicians.


It also advices the key stakeholder to use the readily available test kits, developed by CIFT. To be made commercially available at Rs 2-3 within a week, the kits help test for formalin and ammonia. The kits are a preliminary test and samples must be sent to labs for final confirmation.


The kit contains a paper and liquid reagent. To test the fish, the paper has to be rubbed against the skin of the fish and the reagent has to be doped on the paper. If the paper turns blue, it is contaminated with ammonia or formalin, if it turns yellow it is free from contamination.


Previously, FSSAI Kerala had found formalin was being used as a preservative in fish during regular inspections in beginning of 2018.


The European Food Safety Authority recommends an oral exposure of 100mg formaldehyde per day.  But when it is applied as a preservative, the levels differ, causing health implications such as severe abdominal pain, vomiting, coma, renal injury and death. 

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