Formalin in Fish - Operation Sagar Rani

#1

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 3:30 AM

Formalin in Fish

Background Context

The Health Department of state of Bihar has imposed a complete ban for half a month (15 days) in city of Patna, on sales activity of fishes from state of Andhra Pradesh (AP) and West Bengal. This decision came after
number of fish samples tested, were found contaminated with Formalin, this ban is further extended and against any activity related to storage and transportation of the fish from two states West Bengal (WB) and Andhra Pradesh (AP) respectively.

Brief Information About Formalin

  • Whenever 30% to 40% of the Formaldehyde (CH2O or HCHO) is combined with water, the resulting combination is called Formalin (Formaldehyde Gas in Water). It has the properties of disinfectant and used for the sterilization of medical instruments, pesticides, paint, manufacturing paper and glue.
  • Formalin in Colourless and TOXIC properties, it is soluble in water and acetone.
  • It is used as preservative for anatomical and biological samples or specimen.
  • Whenever bare contact Formalin, it causes irritation in throat, eyes, stomach and itching on skin.
  • Unfortunately Formalin is carcinogenic in nature (cancer causing properties) and causes serious harm to liver and kidney on regular exposure.
  • Moreover it is highly flammable gas, thus makes it highly reactive to flames or heat.

Why is fish laced with formalin?

  • Fish is considered to be highly perishable and has lesser shelf life compared to other commodities. It has to be maintained in 05 degree Celsius or else it starts to degrade. However during transportation most of the fish gets spoiled and no longer suitable for consumption. Recently discovered that fishermens and fish traders started to use Formalin and Ammonia as s preservatives to increase fish shelf life. However without proper knowledge and experience, the use of formalin is now contaminating the fishes and food stores. This practice came into existence due to the geographical distance between place of fish catch and market place has increased and demand in other parts of India with greater price for fish, force seller to use toxic chemicals as preservatives.

Operation Sagar Rani

  • Very recently last year, June 2018 the Food Safety Department, State of Kerala confiscated or seized around 10,000 kilograms (kg) of contaminated fish completely preserved in Formalin at Kollam district (border check post). This catch comprises of 7000 kilograms (kg) of Prawn and 3000 kilograms (kg) of other well known fish species that are in regular demand in market. This was in pursuance of the Operation Sagar Rani officially launched by the state.

Important Link (External)

  1. Formalin in Fish - VikasPedia.in
  2. Beware! Formalin Laced Fish Could Cause Cancer - NDTV.
  3. What happens when you eat fish laced with formalin? - The Economic Times.