Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Food Preservative

We will be taking about fish. We consume fish as part of our daily diet for its protein and vitamin. Fish accounted for 26% of our daily protein diet. But are you aware that beside the fish essential that we consume, we are also consuming other element together. One of them that come in mind is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a chemical compound commonly used for preservation of biological specimens. It kills most bacteria and fungi so to make it suitable to use for preservation of specimens. Formaldehyde is highly toxic to animal including human and it has been classify as a known carcinogen, what this mean is clinical studies has shown that it can cause cancer in human. A low dose will cause skin burn and irritation. Higher dose will cause dizziness and abdominal pain. Long term exposure to formaldehyde will cause nasal cancer.  

Formaldehyde has made its way into the fishing industry, where formaldehyde are being apply to fish product to prolong its shelf live. Last year, 103 tons of fish from Malaysia and Pakistan exported to Medan Indonesia were found to contain formaldehyde. The shipment was quarantine off and sent back to Malaysia. A layer of formaldehyde is spray on top of the fish skin to prevent bacteria growth which is the leading cause of food decay. Formaldehyde is colorless, so you wouldn't see it.  Indirectly it reduces the operation cost by depending less on refrigeration and less on special care during transportation. Fish product reach the hand of consumer fresher but with the additional preservative.
Advice to the Consumer
1.     Wash all food thoroughly with running tap water because formaldehyde can be soluble in water so washing can remove the present of formaldehyde.
      2. Soak dry groceries like dried fish thoroughly in clean water before cooking and discard the water. 
3. Cook all food with the temperature of 75°C or above because heat can breakdown the formaldehyde.
4. Buy from reliable sources. 

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