PANAJI: In what appears to be a damage-control move, the Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Friday issued a press release stating that marine fish naturally contains a certain amount of formalin, and reiterated that the results of the fish sample were found to be within the permissible limit.
However, the FDA has failed to disclose the amount of formalin found in the samples, which it had drawn from Margao fish wholesale market, after their detailed examination in its laboratory on Thursday.
The FDA, in the press release, has stated that the department has not taken a U-turn over the detection of formalin in fish samples as reported in the media.
The FDA has quoted two reports published in journals of Fisheries and claimed that the concentration of formaldehyde in marine fish is found to be varying between 2.38 to 2.95 mg/kg; fish/shellfish 0.33 to 16 mg/kg etc and freshly caught fish contain presence of naturally occurring formaldehyde in the range of 1.45 mg/kg to 2.6 mg/kg.
However, the FDA has failed to give an explanation as to which Act or rule of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) mentions the quantity of formalin presence in the fish to be safe or unsafe for human consumption.
The FDA, in its last press release, never mentioned whether the formalin found in ‘permissible limit’ was inherently present or detected as added formalin.
“Spot tests carried out on the samples indicated presence of aldehydes, which is a family of organic compounds which include formaldehyde. Formaldehyde in its liquid form is known as formalin. Among all the aldehydes, formalin (formaldehyde) is carcinogenic, if consumed in excess. To rule out the presence of added formaldehyde in the fish samples same were subjected to detailed testing at the FDA laboratory at Bambolim and the results were found to be within permissible limit,” states the press release.
“Spot test carried out for detection of aldehyde is only an indicative test and unless the confirmatory tests are carried out in the laboratory to ascertain the presence of formalin quality, fish cannot be declared as positive for formalin content,” it reads further.
The FDA has informed that the FSSAI has sought the laboratory report from the department of sampling of fish arriving in Goa from Chennai.