Formaldehyde testing of market fish

- Timor Leste imports a significant amount of fish from Indonesia; both frozen and fresh, legal and illegal. There is concern that some of the fresh fish imported have been treated with formaldehyde by the vendor and this information is not being related to the subsequent buyers. This project is to engage the public in partnership with the department of fisheries Industry unit to help detect and remove formaldehyde treated fish from the marketplace. That their responsibilities extend into the marketplace promoting methods to ensure the quality of fish and stopping illegal practices. To do this we need to build the capacity of the Industry Unit to detect these additives. Below are two tests for formaldehyde; the cost is fairly reasonable, between one and two USD per test. It seems like the procedure is fairly straightforward. What we are proposing is that the Industry unit randomly test some of the fish in the marketplace. We want to test several hypothesis. First, to see if the tests have the necessary sensitivity to detect the presence of formaldehyde. Second, that the tests are simple enough to use that national staff can reliably perform the tests in the field. Thirdly, if we can do the first and second, to determine whether the addition of formaldehyde is a problem here in Timor. We have anecdotal evidence that it is, but have very little idea whether this problem is a small or a large one in Timor.