Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation has asked traders to stop using formalin to preserve food items since it was dangerous to human health.
He said formalin was being used particularly to preserve “koobi,” dried tilapia, and that was a recipe to cause cancer in people when consumed.
Formalin in fish would make it stiff, have rubbery meat, hard scales, red gills, clear eyes, and take away it “fishy smell.”
“This chemical, is usually used to stop dead bodies from rotting, he said. “This chemical, is usually used to stop dead bodies from rotting,” Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said.
Formalin is a colourless strong-smelling chemical substance usually used in the textiles, plastics, papers, paint, and construction industries as well as a well-known chemical used to preserve human corpse.
Speaking to journalists during a working visit to the Food Research Institute (FRI) and the Industrial Research Institute (IRR) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Friday [February 24, 2016], Prof Frimpong-Boateng said, “hitherto, opening the gills of Koobi exposed the salt placed there. Koobi was a little softer and when you put it somewhere flies will be attracted to it. These days you put koobi there and even flies will not go there”.
“So we want the few people who are destroying that industry to stop. Don’t preserve koobi with formalin, it is dangerous, it can cause cancer and it is dangerous everywhere, he said.
“Tell the traders to stop using formalin but instead use salt to preserve koobi”, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said.
The visit was part of his familiarisation tour to various research institutions under CSIR that play a strategic role in developing scientific research that would feed industry and propel economic growth.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng together with Dr Victor Agyeman, Director-General of CSIR interacted with the staff of the two institutes and urged them to work hard and come out with scientific research programmes that would help boost industry, agriculture and education.
The Minister assured the staff of government’s commitment to resource the research centres with funds as it prepared to increase research fund from 0.2 per cent to 2.5 per cent of the nation’s budget.
He also commended the staff at the Food Research Institute for the various products they had come up with but urged them to work to link up with industry to take up the innovation and sell them.
He however expressed regret at the level of deterioration at the Institute of Industrial Research despite the fact that there were scientists ready to work but were faced with obsolete equipment and tools.
“I think we as a people have failed the CSIR, which was created to play a critical role in building the economy “the Minister noted.