Kochi, May 18 (PTI) The Marine Products Export Development Authority has developed a testing protocol for formaldehyde adulteration in seafood, MPEDA Chairman K S Srinivas said here on Monday.
He expressed concern over the repeated incidents of the presence of formaldehyde for preserving seafood in various domestic markets in recent times and said that it poses serious challenges on food safety and has potential to become an irritant in Indias seafood exports to various markets.
To address this, the Quality Control (QC) laboratory of Marine Products Export Development Authority has developed a testing protocol for formaldehyde adulteration in seafood, he said in a statement here.
The (QC) lab is now equipped to detect presence of formaldehyde, which is wrongly used for preserving seafood and the chemical substance has been categorized by the WHO as a potential health hazard for human beings, he said.
The lab is accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and approved by the Export Inspection Council.
The High Performance Liquid Chromatography method used is able to quantify formaldehyde in fish and fishery products and meets the national requirement as per Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI).
This parameter has been brought under the scope of accreditation of MPEDAs QC lab at Kochi.
In addition, the Kochi lab has facilities for screening of farmed shrimp samples for banned antibiotics under Pre-Harvest Test (PHT) certification programme, the statement said.
In another major step, MPEDA has started formally extending testing services in the field of Microbiology from its state-of-the-art Microbiology laboratory to seafood exporters and other stakeholders of the industry, it said.
The lab is capable of testing various microbiological parameters in water, fish and fishery products and spices.
It has also got a molecular biology section that can handle testing of pathogenic viruses in shrimps.
The statement said that in the wake of gradual lockdown relaxations, it has been decided to extend operations at the QC and microbiology lab in Kochi to stakeholders.
'All the guidelines and protocols charted out by the government, such as social distancing, wearing of masks and use of sanitizers, are being strictly followed at the offices and laboratories of MPEDA,' Srinivas said.
MPEDAA said the need for such a laboratory has become imperative because the USA, the EU and other major seafood importers are tightening their quality norms to safeguard the health of their consumers. PTI TGB APR RAVINDRANATH APR RAVINDRANATH