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Agriculture Minister launches rapid detection kits for fish adulteration

Rapid detection kits to help in protecting the consumers’ health from the chemical used for fish preservation

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Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh today launched the rapid detection kits for adulterants in fresh fish, developed by Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Kochi.

Rural Marketing had earlier in the month of January informed its readers about the kits which can detect adulteration of ammonia and formaldehyde in in fresh fish. For details, click here.

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.

While inaugurating the kit, Singh informed that continuous ingestion of ammonia and formaldehyde can lead to many health issues including abdominal pain, vomiting, unconsciousness, and sometimes even cause death. The Agriculture Minister said it today at the launch of kit in New Delhi.

He said that fish consumption is beneficial for health. 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 International 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.

Union Agriculture 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.

Taking these aspects into consideration, 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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