Canned fish safe to eat | Sunday Observer

Canned fish safe to eat

Following the incident where 74 containers of canned fish were rejected due to the presence of repugnant substances the Deputy Director General, Health Services, Dr Lakshman Gamlath has told the media that the fish had been rejected due to the presence of worms. However, he said, when the fish is processed these worms die and posed no health risk, adding ,”But it is repugnant. If raw fish with this parasite is consumed there is a health risk since the parasite can enter the human body.” Asked by this writer to respond to concerns over consuming the fish raw or under cooked , he reiterated, “Even without cooking nothing can happen. However, any concerns of a health risk if the fish is ingested raw, can be laid to rest because in Sri Lanka people don’t eat raw or under cooked fish as they do in some other countries”.

He said, the detection of worms in canned fish imports had been made two months ago and since then the Health Ministry had remained vigilant and tested every stock of canned fish that had entered the country from that time onwards. “I can guarantee, no stocks with worms entered the country in the last two months . We tested 184 containers of which 117 were positive for parasites and will be returning them to the exporters," he reportedly said. Customs officials were quoted as saying they were in the process of returning the rejected consignments to the importers in China and Thailand adding that consignments failing to meet the SLSI criteria were detected in December and the number of rejected consignments have been increasing thereafter.”

The Sri Lanka Standards Institute ( SLSI) is responsible for testing the samples. The Sunday Observer learns that the Health Ministry is currently stepping up its vigilance to ensure that none of the stocks with parasites have entered the market through illegal channels.

Lankan invents bulb to fight Influenza

Manju Gunawardene, a scientist attached to the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology, has reportedly invented a bulb to control the influenza virus, which has won him world acclaim and a gold medal at the World New Inventions Congress, held in Geneva .

According to Gunewardene, epidemics are spread through three main venues- hospitals, patients suffering from epidemics and long exposure to contaminating particles in the air. He has been reported as saying, “We decided on a nano particle which can destroy any bacteria , waste or any virus. We applied this nano particle to the surface of the bulb. Patients suffering from influenza , diarrhoea, allergy or viral bacteria can be protected by keeping the bulb lit.”.

However, to date it had not been used despite appeals to the Health authorities, he reportedly said.

World Environment Day

President Maithripala Sirisena , in his message for World Environment Day (WED), June 5, underscored the importance of this year’s theme, ‘Beat plastic pollution’ saying that Sri Lankans have to understand that, from the calamity of mosquitoes and insects to natural disasters like floods and landslides, all health problems including non infectious diseases, are catastrophes brought on ourselves through the so called development process. He urged communities to move forward towards an environmentally friendly way of life, by understanding the threats caused through our own lifestyles.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe too in his message highlighted the destruction of natural resources in the recent past due to urbanization and inadequate development projects . He said, in Sri Lanka a ban on polythene had taken effect from September 1 , 2017, to find a sustainable solution to solid waste management. Introducing and promoting biologically degradable polythene and plastic and encouraging small /medium scale entrepreneurs to produce environmentally friendly alternatives was the need of the hour, he emphasized.

Navy cleans up Galle Face Green

On an upside to this, we learn that Navy personnel under the directives of the Western Naval Area Commander Rear Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenna cleaned up the Galle Face Green, ahead of World Environment Day, collecting polythene and plastic, and disposed of them at the Navy Polythene & Plastic Recycling Centre at Crow Island , Mattakkuliya, where fancy items, flower pots, fence posts and interlocks for gardens are produced.

Influenza patients hit new low

The number of influenza patients at Kamburupitiya , Matara and Karapitiy has dwindled significantly. No patients have been admitted to these hospitals since June 1, Director General Health Services, Dr Anil Jasinghe has said at a press briefing . He said, Rs 30 million was allocated to the Southern Province Health Services Director to buy the required equipment and drugs. Consultant Epidemiologist Dr Samitha Ginige has reportedly said, there was no vaccine or drug to prevent virus infections and the only way to prevent them was by good personal hygiene. Consultant Virologist attached to the MRI Dr Jude Jayamaha reportedly stated, the Influenza A virus was found in most samples tested since May 1 and 159 samples ( swabs) were received from the Karapitiya Hospital , mostly from children. He said, the condition was a common phenomenon during this season. He is also reported to have cautioned that the flu vaccine suggested by the Health Ministry was only 40% to 70% effective. A panel of specialists including representatives from the Medical

Supplies Division is expected to decide whether to use the vaccine or not , the Sunday Observer learns.

World’s first Bicycle Day celebrated

On June 3 children and adults alike celebrated the first ever World Bicycle Day.

As cities get clogged with smoke and emissions from vehicles, bicycles are being promoted by environmentalists and health officials as healthy lifestyle changes to reduce NCDs. Around 15,000 bicycles are said to be sold in Sri Lanka annually, used by children and adults.

Even animals succumb to plastic hazard

Recently a Thailand newspaper has reported that a whale in southern Thailand died after swallowing more than eighty plastic bags. A post mortem examination of the small made pilot whale revealed it had 80 plastic bags weighing up to one stone 3 lbs, and marine biologists said the bags made it impossible for the whale to eat any nutritional food. He added that at least 300 marine animals including sea turtles, whales and dolphins perish each year after ingesting plastic in the waters of one of the the world’s top five plastic polluters.

- Carol