The FSSAI has re-operationalised the provisions with respect to the limit of naturally occurring formaldehyde in freshwater and marine fish.

FSSAI has stated that the decision was taken as final regulations are likely to take some more time in getting gazette notification.

“To ensure fair practice in food business operations, it has been decided to re-operationalise the provisions of these regulations with effect from 13.03.2022,” reads the order issued by the FSSAI in this regard.

The order added that food businesses need to comply with the provisions with respect to the limit of naturally occurring formaldehyde in fish.

FSSAI has framed draft food safety regulations called FSS (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2021, specifying the limit of naturally occurring formaldehyde in freshwater as well as marine fish and the same was operationalised on 10.02.2020 and subsequently re-operationalised in August 2020, and November 2020 and in September 2021.

According to the regulations, the fishes were divided into four groups and the limit of formaldehyde was set.

Group 1 consists of Marine species including all finfishes (including Barracuda, Billfishes, Bombay Duck, Bullseyes, Catfishes, Croakers, Eels, Filefishes and Puffers, Flat fishes, Goatfishes, Groupers (Rock Cods), Half Beaks and Full Beaks, Horse Mackerel, Leather Jacket (Queen Fish), Mackerel, Mullets, Other Carangids, Other Clupeoids, Anchovies, Other Perches, Pigface Breams, Pomfrets, Ribbon Fish, Sardines, Seer Fishes/Spanish Mackerel, Silver Bellies/Biddies, Snappers, Tarpons, Threadfin Breams, Threadfins, Tuna and Bonitos, White Fish and any other commercial varieties), elasmobranchs, crustaceans and molluscs except those under Group Ill & IV.

The limit of formaldehyde is fixed at 4mg/kg for Group I.

The Group II includes fishes of freshwater origin including Finfishes (including Indian Major Carps, Minor Carps, Exotic Carps, Freshwater Catfishes, Snakeheads/Murrels, Tilapia, Trout and all other freshwater fin fishes), crustaceans and molluscans.

The limit of formaldehyde for Group II is also fixed at 4mg/kg.

Group III consists of marine species including Lizard fishes and any other marine fishes not covered under Group I and the formaldehyde limit is fixed at 8mg/kg.

While the Group IV consists of all frozen stored marine fish products and the limit of formaldehyde is 100mg/kg.

According to regulations, the limits were subjected to revision on the basis of data collected over different seasons and geographical locations and upon analysis and recommendation by the scientific panel, as and when required while for fish and fish products of marine origin other than those mentioned in Group I and II, the limit of naturally occurring formaldehyde shall not be more than 100 ppm.