Agri Business

Mpeda develops protocols to check adulteration in seafood

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on May 19, 2020

Concern over repeated incidents of the presence of formaldehyde to preserve seafood   -  KK Mustafah

The quality control laboratory of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (Mpeda) has developed a testing protocol for formaldehyde adulteration in seafood.

The lab in Kochi is now equipped to detect the presence of formaldehyde, which is wrongly used for preserving seafood and the chemical substance has been categorised by the WHO as “a potential health hazard for human beings’.

Expressing concern over repeated incidents of the presence of formaldehyde to preserve seafood in various domestic markets in India in recent times, K S Srinivas, Chairman, Mpeda, said it poses serious challenges on food safety and has the potential to become an irritant in India’s seafood exports.

“The Kochi laboratory, accredited by NABL and approved by Export Inspection Council, has developed and validated a method for detecting formaldehyde in seafood using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC),” he said.

This method is able to quantify formaldehyde in fish and fishery products and meets the national requirement as per FSSAI. In addition, the Kochi lab has facilities for the screening of farmed shrimp samples for banned antibiotics under the Pre-Harvest Test certification programme.

Microbiology lab

In another major step, Mpeda has also started formally extending testing services in the field of microbiology from its Microbiology laboratory to the seafood exporters and other stakeholders of the industry. The lab is capable of testing various microbiological parameters in water, fish and fishery products and spices. The laboratory has also got a molecular biology section that can handle testing of pathogenic viruses in shrimps.

The lab has well-trained samplers for drawing samples from farms and processing units for analysis and skilled technicians for analysis of the samples. The need for such a laboratory has become imperative because the US, the EU and other major seafood importers are tightening their quality norms to safeguard the health of their consumers, he added.

Published on May 19, 2020

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