Samples test positive

A few samples of fish lifted from a couple of hotels in the city have tested positive for formalin.

Hotel industry sources, which confirmed the findings, said they had informed their vendor, and had asked him to check with his source. “We returned the contaminated fish and have asked him not to source from that person again,” the sources said. Most hotels have tie ups with laboratories or have in-house testing facilities to check for quality of items used in cooking.

A source at one laboratory said that of 30-odd samples collected, 5 to 6 showed traces of the chemical. While the kits may not work below a particular level, even traces are enough to confirm the presence. “The standard is that formalin should be absent in fish,” said a source.

After reports of formalin in fish surfaced, hotels have been on the watch. “We have not found any chemical content so far in the fish that we buy. We are taking daily samples and checking at our in-house facility. We have educated our vendor about the dangers and asked him to be careful while making purchases,” said a hotelier.

However, none of the 19 samples lifted by the Food Safety Department tested positive for formalin at their lab in Guindy, authorities claimed.

Note issued

Meanwhile, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has issued a note. It has advised consumers to thoroughly wash fish with running water since the chemical is soluble in water and washing will aid the removal of the chemical to a large extent. It has asked consumers to discard the water in which the fish is cooked and to cook it at a temperature of 75 degree C, the note said.

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