India-based Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) has developed a new simple, low-cost, and easy-to-operate device to assess the freshness of fish in a market, The Hindu BusinessLine reported 24 December.
The device is described as a paper-based disc that's stored inside a pack, without coming into direct contact with the fish. The disc absorbs the chemical compounds released during the storage period, and changes color depending on the amount of compounds released.
Users just need to watch the changes in the color of the disc to identify the freshness of the fish with which it is stored, without having to do any costly laboratory tests.
According to C.O. Mohan, CIFT' senior scientist at the Fish Processing Division, this low-cost test will not affect the sale price of fish and can be used on chilled, refrigerated and iced fish.
The freshness indicator will improve the monitoring of supply chains, which helps consumers get better quality fish, Mohan said.
As there are reports of merchants using adulterants to maintain the freshness of fish, the device is expected to help build trust among consumers. The device will also encourage traders to maintain the quality of their fish.
Normally, fish freshness is either ensured by sensory attributes or by analytical methods, which is time-consuming, costly, and not real-time, Mohan said.
In January 2018, the Indian government launched two rapid-detection kits, also developed by CIFT, for checking whether fresh fish had been adulterated with formaldehyde and ammonia. They tests consist of simple paper strips, a reagent solution, and a standard chart for comparing results, the Press Trust of India reported in January 2018.
Continuous ingestion of ammonia and formaldehyde can lead to many health issues including abdominal pain, vomiting, unconsciousness, and sometimes can even cause death.