Formaldehyde, or commonly called formalin, has been used in daily needs, just like a diary products. Even though formerly it is used as disinfectants, and for preservation of biological specimens.
The use of formalin as foods preservative are not only here in Indonesia, but also in China and some other Asian countries. Beside the food industry, formalin was also used in the beauty industry, especially for nail paint products.
Foods, such as noodle, tofu, meatballs, and salted fish, are commonly used formalin as a preservative. Formalin contains several advantages for foods products manufacturer, especially for home industry.
Beside the price of formalin is cheap, but also its benefit to extend the life of food. Formalin can also improve the external appearance of food, and protect the food from the attack of fungi and bacteria.
The problem is that the content of formalin preservative will immediately react quickly in the digestive tract and organs, when the condition of the stomach is empty. The use of formalin in the diet can cause toxicity in a functional organ of the human body.
It is characterized by symptoms, such as difficulty of swallowing, poor appetite, nausea (as a reaction to the rejection of the stomach), acute abdominal pain (as a reaction to the rejection of the liver, stomach and colon), diarrhea and eventually accompanied by vomiting. At the worst level, symptoms may lead to severe depression in the nervous system, or circulatory disorders.
Based on formalin's carcinogenic nature, if the body contains with a high concentration of formalin, the body will react chemically with almost all the body's cells, causing cell damage, and even cell mutations that lead to the development of cancer, after accumulated for relatively long time in the body.
There are several ways you can do to reduce the formaldehyde content in foodstuffs, without any additional cost. It just by how the food treats before consumption. Only by good knowledge on how to treat the foods before consuming, the formalin levels would reduced, though we could not eliminated entirely to 100%.
But, it is not saying that it is safe to use formalin as a preservative, by reducing formaldehyde levels in the foods material, is the most important to know and understand.
At least three ways of handling to reduce levels of formaldehyde, such as, soaked in plain water, hot water, boiled in boiling water, steamed, and then stewed in boiling water, followed by the frying process.
Noodles and fresh fish deformalinisasi by soaking in hot water for 30 minutes, where the result can eliminate the formaldehyde levels up to 90%. As for the fresh fish, can be done by soaking in a solution of 5% vinegar for 15 minutes.
Typically, foods that contain formaldehyde has a perfect physical appearance. The formalin coated meat was not too chewy, and the smell of chemical substance. By increasing the consumption of healthy food supplements, will help blocking toxic particles that trying to enter the body, improves the body immunity to face the worst environmental conditions.
The body immunity plays a key role in blocking the attack of toxic compounds in formalin. If the body's immunity in a low condition, it is possible that low concentrations of formalin be able to have an effect on human health.
The recent news I saw this morning on the local TV, couples of kids were poisoned by a bright light orange snack called
stik balado, a snack with balado spicy. One of them were get killed after taking to the hospital yesterday.
So, in order to live healthy and safely with formalin coated foods, we must pay more intention to the quality and condition of the item and its price. Carefully before eating any foods, especially home made industry foods products. Please do check the nutrition facts label and the expired date!
Reference: Cara Mengurangi Kadar Formalin by Nina Wardhani, S.Tp