Title : Fast and reliable methods for histamine detection in fish
The storage of fish at the temperature of melting ice is strongly recommended, if not possible onboard vessels, immediately after capture and throughout the supply chain. However, time/temperature abuse conditions can always occur and the potential for histamine formation in high histidine fish species is of particular concern. Since the presence of histamine has no effect on sensory characteristics of the product, an analytical approach can represent the most important prevention and control tool. The opportunity to check fish for histamine content from fishing to commercialization could avoid or reduce the incidence of scombroid poisoning. A high rate of all seafood-related outbreaks occurred worldwide is due to histamine intoxication, as an allergic-like disease as well as histamine intolerance. Many countries have established maximum limits for histamine in fishery products based on the Codex standard of 200 mg/kg. The United States (US) Food and Drug Administration has adopted the limit of 50 mg/kg, while the European Union (EU) food safety criteria correspond to 100 and 200 mg/kg in both raw and processed fish products, except for those that have undergone an enzyme maturation treatment in brine, where the maximum limit is 400 mg/kg. The control of fish and fish products against this hazard is generally carried out according to a sampling plan based on EU and US schemes which analyzes respectively 9 or 18 sample units of the same batch. However, fishermen and all other operators along the fish supply chain must not place on the market products with histamine levels above the maximum limits. Real-time monitoring of fish and fish products could be ensured by quick and easy-to-apply analytical techniques directly in the field. A wide range of methods are available today for the determination of histamine in fish, but they are generally time-consuming and require skilled technicians, limiting their application to the laboratory level only. Conversely, new rapid techniques such as colorimetric strip, fast-track lateral flow test, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, molecularly imprinted polymer-based fluorometric assay, nanomaterials based optical and electrochemical sensing, and electrochemical-based biosensors can be used for a preliminary screening of histamine presence during on-site inspection. Among the advantages, some methods are non-destructive and can be performed directly in-situ, while others show great agreement with more sensitive and specific systems such as chromatography. The reliable and rapid detection of histamine in fish is essential for food safety and public health, as well as for the global seafood industry. Hence, studies must always be done in search of simple, fast, and accurate methods that can easily be used outside the laboratory.