Salt-fish popular but is it safe or not?  

By Ezekiel Talatau

SALT-FISH is popular in the central market, which is being sold at affordable prices, but is it safe?

Director of the National Public Health Laboratory, Mr Dickson Manongi had previously said that people are attracted to salt-fish because of its affordability. However, he cautioned that it contains very high levels of salt, which is being used as a preservative (slows down the rate of rotting).

He had also explained that salt-fish can be differentiated from regular fresh fish from its physical appearance.

There have also been reported cases of people complaining of getting ill after consuming salt-fish.

Yesterday, Honiara City Council (HCC) Health division staff, Ms Tina Onahikeni reassured that salt-fish is not toxic for human consumption.

“The only problem is transportation and temperature. Most of the salt-fish are transported to the Central market by bags which is a concern if the bag is clean to put the fish inside or not.

“The other problem is the differences in temperature. The salt-fish has stored in the ship freeze with salt at a low temperature. When it reaches the central market, most of the sellers seem to expose those salt-fish at the high temperature; therefore it creates an issue whether the salt-fish is good for human consumption or not at that temperature.

“The other problem is how the sellers handle their fish.”

Mercy Nunua from HCC Health division said most sellers in the central market use the contaminated seawater to wash their fish, this could be one factor that causes those fish to be contaminated.

She advises public to judge which fish to buy from the physical appearance of the fish.

Onahikeni adds that there not been any lab test done on salt-fish this year.

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