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Your_Majesty's avatar

Can you suggest an easy scientific way to test whether or not a food product is fomalined/boraxed?

Asked by Your_Majesty (8215points) August 28th, 2010

This is a problem in my country,many people tend to infuse artificial(and dangerous) chemical to preserve their food product. Even though the government has already forbid this unacceptable practice many people still do this thing all around this country. Many have been caught for doing this thing,but our Consumer department and Health department only investigate people and places in big cities even though there many people practicing this way in other smaller town.

The problem here is that I live in small town near a big city,I suspect that some food product(especially if it’s from traditional market) have been preserved with formaline and borax(which is not healthy for human) but I don’t know how to test whether or not this food product contain such harmful thing. Of course,our government and many TV media,after many of them exposed this unhealthy practice,introduce a way to identify formalined/boraxed food product but this method is none other than just sniffing and tasting method,which is ineffective in my opinion.

Those responsible department will visit bigger cities for periodic food investigation but they will never visit smaller town for the same purpose,and I can’t take the sample of ‘suspected food’ to these departments. I want to do something on my own to test food product but I don’t know what would be the most effective (and easiest) way to do that. I can visit my local pharmaceutical store,but it would be better if the method will involve household equipments (I don’t want to buy expensive research equipments).

would it be effective both for meat product and vegetables product?

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4 Answers

cazzie's avatar

You’re in Indonesia, then, right? It’s also banned in the US as a food additive.

Borax will change the pH level… but pH meters are expensive and without a ‘control’ the reading would be useless. Formaline stinks, so you should be able to smell it?? My only knowledge of formaline is in regards to dentistry.

Borax isn’t that poisonous in small doses and you’d be surprised what it shows up in. It has been linked to liver cancer when LARGE amounts are eaten over 5–10 years. I would never give children under 12 anything that has borax in it (skin creams or food) but it isn’t as harmful as some make it out to be. If you have liver or kidney issues, you should avoid it, but otherwise, an average, healthy adult can eliminate this from their system in the small doses used in SOME food.

If the food contains a lot of borax or boron, it will turn green when set alight. We were just discussing this in another thread. Also, if you set some of the food out and let it dry out in the sun and it contains borax, it may show a white-ish powdery surface (if it contains enough, that is.)

Don’t buy any processed food would be my suggestion. Many many foods from China is likely to have it in it.

Your_Majesty's avatar

@cazzie Thank you for your answer,very informative! And yes,I live in Indonesia.

Also,our local scientists say that formalined fish (common here) are fly-free so they suggest people to buy fish with lots of fly around it but I think that is not effective since not every fish exposed to outdoor condition that allow flies to surround it,it’s possible too that half-rotten fish will attract flies,plus we just can’t identify the smell of formaline since fish smell fishy and that will cover the smell of formaline.

cazzie's avatar

Oh! That’s an excellent little thingie-ma-bob! GA! RocketGuy!

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