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Your fish embalmed with chemical used for corpses

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Your fish embalmed with chemical used for corpses Empty Your fish embalmed with chemical used for corpses

Post by Seva Lamberdar Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:54 pm

Vishav Bharti
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 2

Ever thought what keeps sea fish fresh? It is formalin, a chemical used for preserving corpses in mortuaries. An investigation carried out by The Tribune has found large presence of the chemical in fish, sold in Chandigarh and Punjab. At least 10 varieties of sea fish are consumed in the region.

The Tribune team purchased some popular varieties at one of the region's biggest fish markets in Chandigarh’s Sector 21 and got these tested at the Punjab Food and Chemical Testing Laboratory in Kharar. Formalin was found in two most commonly consumed varieties — Mackerel and Red Snapper.

The test report, prepared by the Food Analyst Punjab, stated that in Mackerel a large amount of the chemical was found. In Red Snapper, traces of formalin were observed. A query with the Punjab Health Department reveals it is not for the first time that formalin has been found in fish in the region. In 2013, four samples were taken by the Civil Surgeon, Patiala, from the city’s fish market and a huge amount of formalin was found in all four.

Health experts say formalin, a derivative of formaldehyde, is a dangerous chemical and its consumption is linked to cancer. Dr Onkar Singh Baraich, Assistant Professor (Fish and Fisheries), Punjabi University, Patiala, said the chemical was so strong that a solution of 5 per cent formalin and 95 per cent water could preserve fish for 100 years. “The moment it comes in contact with a living organism, it arrests it, which helps stop the organism decay,” he explained. Formalin can cause severe stomach ailments, disturbing enzymes and paralysing the digestive system.

Any food laced with the chemical loses its nutritional value. “Formalin-laced food cannot be digested, it goes with faeces as it is.” Both Mackerel and Red Snapper, that come from Mumbai, are widely consumed in the region. Transported by train, these reach Chandigarh and Punjab on the third or fourth day. Retailers and wholesalers deny any chemical is used for preservation locally.

“We receive consignments in thermocol boxes from Mumbai. We place the fish on ice and sell or supply within two days,” claims the owner of Ashoka Fish Merchant in Chandigarh.

Punjab officials say most of the fish sold in the state is of varieties found in local rivers. “Formalin may be used in sea fish, but not in local varieties, that are consumed within 24 hours and need only ice to prevent rotting,” says Dr Madan Mohan, Director Fisheries, Punjab.
Sukhwinder Singh, Designated Officer, Department of Food Safety and Standards, Chandigarh Administration, did not respond to repeated calls.

Supply route

Sea fish sourced from Gujarat, Odisha, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal arrives at Gazipur hub in East Delhi. It is further supplied to parts of North India, including Chandigarh

Deadly formalin

It is a strong disinfectant and tissue hardener. It is used for preserving biological and anatomical specimens. It is also used to sterilise surgical intruments

Mackerel & Red Snapper

Mackerel is known by different names in different languages and regions like aiyla in Malayalam, bangdi in Gujarati and bangda in Marathi. It is widely found in the western coastal belt. Red Snapper is commonly found in Kerala.

May Affect...

Respiratory tract

Can Cause…


Consuming 30 ml of formalin
a solution made of water, menthol and 37% formaldehyde — can kill an adult
Seva Lamberdar
Seva Lamberdar

Posts : 6338
Join date : 2012-11-29

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