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Food regulator fishing' for toxins.

THE Food Safety and Standards Authority of India ( FSSAI) has come up with strict regulations for fish products as it is one of the largely consumed food items in India and may pose a potential source of harmful contaminants and biotoxins into humans. Scaling pollution in water bodies is degrading the environment in which fish thrive resulting in contamination.

The FSSAI, which works under the Union ministry of health and family welfare, has listed the contaminants and biotoxins ( produced by organisms themselves) along with their maximum permissible limits.

Apart from naturally occurring toxic substances, the major source of contaminants in the fish is due to population pressure and large- scale use of pesticides. Due to poor disposal system in the country, contaminants like Polychlorinated Biphenyls ( PCB) and bezo( a) pyrene which are major components of pesticides enter into fish that may further enter into the human bodies through food chain. Doctors say that if the contaminants are consumed in higher quantities they may cause

severe health problems.

In fact, PCBs have been demonstrated to cause a variety of adverse health effects. Researches show that they can also cause cancer, and a number of serious non- cancer health effects. They can have harmful effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system and endocrine system. In order to prevent such effects, the FSSAI has prescribed their limits in fish. Polychlorinated biphenyls if found in Inland and migratory fish should not be over 2.0 ppm and if found in marine fish, crustaceans and mollusks should not be 0.5 ppm. Similarly, bezo( a) pyrene in smoked fishery products should not be more than 5 ppb, said a senior official in FSSAI. Biotoxins which are produced by fish themselves can be a threat to humans if consumed in higher quantities. Apart from contaminants in fish due to water pollution, fish also produce toxins that can have harmful effects on humans, the official added.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jul 8, 2015
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