Is My Fish Lined With Formalin? Beware! Formalin Laced Fish Could Cause Cancer

Experts say that formalin per se cannot be used for the preservation of fish which is meant for consumption. It can cause cancer and many poses many other health risks. Here's how you can detect if your fish is lined with formalin or not.

Is My Fish Lined With Formalin? Beware! Formalin Laced Fish Could Cause Cancer

Formalin laced fish has a longer shelf life; however, it can increase your risk of cancer


  1. Formalin is a preservative applied fish to prevent its decay
  2. This chemical is not meant for fish which has to be consumed
  3. It can increase the risk of cancer

People living in the coastal areas, it is time for you to start seeing your fish with a suspicious eye, your fish could be lined with formalin! Okay, mercury in fish was a reason to worry about, but what is formalin? Formalin is a preservative applied on the body of fish to prevent its decay. Experts say that this chemical per se cannot be used for the preservation of fish which is meant for consumption. As per animal studies, formalin is a cancer-causing agent. Formalin is actually used for the preservation of bodies in mortuaries. Following this shocking revelation, the health authorities of Kerala seized 10000 kg of formalin-laced fish Kerala's Kollam district's border check post. After the launch of Operation Sagar Rani, another 21600 kg of formalin-laced fish were seized. This trail of events has created havoc in the coastal regions of the country and an increased need for people to know how to detect if fish is laced with formalin.

But before moving on to the detection part, let's shed some light on how exactly a formalin-laced fish can affect your health.

1. It can increase the risk of cancer

2. It can make you prone to wheezing

3. It can even kill you (consuming 30 ml of formalin solution containing 37% of formaldehyde can kill an adult)

4. Formaldehyde in formalin can increase risk of leukemia

5. It can cause nausea, irritation and a burning sensation in the eyes, watery eyes and nose

6. It can cause bronchitis and pneumonia

7. There is an increased risk of allergic reactions

8. Kidney and liver problems could also take place

Also read: 13 Health Benefits Of Fish Oil You Never Knew

How to know if your fish is laced with formalin?

In order to know if your fish is laced with formalin, watch out for the following signs.

1. Stiffness

2. Pungent smell of fish

3. No flies will hover around this type of fish

4. Hard scales

If you spot any of these signs, taking some steps can prove helpful. To get rid of formalin, wash wish under running water for 10-12 minutes. Soaking it in water might not be that effective.

Also read: These Varieties Of Fish Have The Highest Levels Of Mercury

What happens when formalin enters your body?

Once formalin has made to your body, it can have a number of negative effects besides the ones mentioned before. Take a look.

1. Stomach problems

2. Liver problems

3. Gastrointestinal distress

4. Respiratory problems like asthma

5. Skin problems

Also read: Should You Have Chicken/Fish And Milk Together? Our Nutritionist Explains

While formalin has the ability to increase the shelf-life of your food, it is still not worth the longevity at the cost of your health. The benefits of this chemical to increase shelf-life have indeed made it popular in the fish industry. However, extensive use of this solution to preserve fish needs to stop before a serious epidemic hits the country.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information. 

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