Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar said use of formalin as a preservative cannot be allowed at any cost. He said tests had been conducted in Thoothukudi and other places based on information received by the department but none of those samples had any formalin.

Samples to be lifted

The Hindu
has brought the [Chennai] test results to our notice, we will lift samples [from fish markets] and conduct tests. We will not hesitate to take strict action against those indulging in such acts,” Mr. Jayakumar said.

Both big lizard fish
) and small lizard fish (
) were found to have formalin content of above 20 ppm (parts per million).

Other varieties such as hammer head shark (
), octopus (
pei kanava
), pacu (
eri vavvaal)
, cuttle fish (
ottu kanava
), and cat fish (
) had formalin of around 5 ppm.

For the test, a two gram piece of meat from the fish was taken and put inside four ml of diluent and shaken so that the formalin would get into it. Then this diluent was poured into the bottle containing the reagent that turned yellow revealing that it had tested positive.

“It is a very sensitive reagent and can detect up to 5 ppm per kilo. The actual test takes only 10 minutes,” explained S. Felix, Vice-Chancellor of the University.

R. Rajaraman, Senior Consultant in Surgical Oncology, Apollo Speciality Hospitals said: “Formaldehyde has the potential to cause blood cancer in human beings.”

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