The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) says there is no ‘foam’ or ‘plastic’ fish on the market as suggested by in some viral videos.
Videos of some people claiming fish they had bought from an unnamed market in the country turned out to be foam and plastic. The videos which surfaced on social media suggested some people had packaged foam and plastic as fish and warned the public to be vigilant.
FDA investigates claims of plastic fish on market
But the FDA has ruled out the availability of the alleged ‘foam or plastic fish’ on the Ghanaian market.
According to the regulatory body, samples of the fish alleged to be foam or plastic which were tested, have proven otherwise.
It explained that the fish, which appears to be foamy or spongy, were the result of bad storage, while the skin which said to be plastic-like is because of what it termed as collagen in the skin of the fish.
“When fish is frozen, the expansion of the water in its cells stretches the cells and muscle tissues. The muscle fibers thus become weak and reduce its in-water holding capacity. This further affects the ability of the muscle fibers to retain ice crystals during subsequent freezing. This makes the fish cells and tissue lose its tensile strength and become spongy in nature,” it said.
A statement issued Friday by the FDA added: “This makes fish muscle loses its natural physical characteristics and the damaged tissue may suggest ‘plastic fish’.
The FDA said it is for this reason that thawed fish and meat should not be re-frozen, noting “the multiple freeze-thawing process results in the ‘spongy’ or ‘foamy’ nature of fishes”.
It observed that retailers of frozen animal products who operate cold rooms have adopted the practice of shutting down their freezing equipment during the day to conserve power, something it suggested could be a factor in the alleged foam fish.
“The general public is therefore encouraged to store frozen meat and fish in a stable temperature of -18 degrees Celsius or colder,” it advised.
The FDA explained that the skin of some fishes has some elastic nature because their skin contains collagen.
“These fishes have this type of thick collagen containing skin because they do not have their entire body protected by scales. The elastic nature of the thick collagen skin is what is being referred to as ‘plastic fish’” it added.