Formalin is injected into fish to preserve its shelf life during transport. It is cheaper than ice and is a more dependable means to prevent rotting. Formalin keeps the gills of the fish pink and prevents them from turning maroon which is a sign of rotting fish.
Something is fishy about the fish from Kerala that has raised concerns in states like Goa, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Manipur. The Food Safety Department authorities seized nearly about 10,000 kg of formalin-laced fish at the border check post of Arayankavu in Kerala’s Kollam district. Formalin is a toxic substance that is used to preserve dead bodies in mortuaries and prevent their decay.
- Gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhoea
- Upset stomach
- Skin diseases
- Burning sensations in the eyes
- Watery eyes and itching
- Kidney and liver problems
How to detect formalin in fish?
- If the fish is preserved with formalin, it has a strong pungent smell. But sometimes you may not detect it as traders dilute it with water.
- Fish preserved with formalin will be stiff and will not have any flies sitting on it.
- If formalin is used, eyes of decaying fish will turn grey.
- In formalin-laced fish, fins and tails start to decay.