How healthy is dried fish? To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
December 3, 2001

IN GUYANA and most tropical countries, solar baked fish (dry fish) is considered a delicacy. It is usually mixed in vegetables, cook-up rice or stewed by itself. The direct sunlight appears to have an effect on its flavour, which is appetising and could cause salivation (or mouth water) due to its unique aroma.

However, in recent times, I became particularly interested in this industry and the possible health hazard it could create.

The other day while walking in my backyard, a bird dropped some of its blessings (bird droppings) on my head and it slid down my forehead and nose.

It then struck me that the flavours in solar baked products, particularly fish and shrimps have not only sunlight, but also bird droppings and other flying creatures’ excrements as condiments to add to the robust flavour of dried fish.

In addition, we can see in the Houston, East Bank area, and other areas of Guyana fish drying by the thousands. All for this next to a major Highway, which is always congested with traffic. These vehicles raise dust and produce pollutants in its toxic carbon monoxide emissions, coupled with bird droppings and sudden rainfalls, which bring down dust particles.

Is it any wonder then why dry fish is so sweet?

Some time ago, I went to get a piece of ‘Moracut’ for a visiting relative. I went to a store on North Road and was showed to the dried Moracut. On looking in the box there were thousands of bug like creatures around the fish. On close examination the bugs sensed us and disappeared within the flesh. It was like magic to our eyes. Ever since, I stopped eating dried fish.

The Ministry of Health needs to set standards for the processing of dried fish. Licenses should be obtained and unlicensed sale and processing, except for home use, should be restricted.
Roshan Khan