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Meghalaya bans fish import following detection of formalin

Meghalaya bans fish import following detection of formalin

Shillong, June 9 (UNI) Meghalaya government has banned the import, storage and sale of fish for the next 15 days after some samples of the aquatic animal were found to be laced with formalin, a toxic chemical used to preserve bodies.
However, fish traders under the umbrella of Khasi-Jaintia Fish Wholesalers and Retailers Association gathered at the fish market in Lewduh opposing the 15 day ban on import of fish to the state.
Commissioner of Food Safety, Rosette M Kurbah said the ban was imposed after 30 out of the 40 fish samples were found laced with the highly toxic chemical, formalin.
“Thirty samples have been tested for formalin as per the analysis report from the Assistant Food Analyst via a report submitted on June 6, which is highly toxic and injurious to health,” Kurbah notified.
Under regulation 3.1.4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011 certain preservatives are permitted to be used in select food items. However, formalin is not in this list of permitted preservatives.
“Distribution, storage and sale of fresh fish treated with formalin and other unpermitted preservatives render the articles unsafe under section 3 (1) (zz) (v) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006,” the order said.
Therefore the health department has banned the storage, distribution and sale of fresh fish and crustaceans “brought from outside the state” for a period of fifteen days or till corrective measures are taken in the interest of public health.
The order further warned that non compliance of the directive would attract a prison term of seven years and a fine of Rs. ten lakh under different sections of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
The state imports most of the fish from states such as Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and others. This is the second time that fishes have been found laced with formalin. In the last instance too there was a ban.
Formalin is a toxic chemical which is used to preserve bodies and prevent its decay in mortuaries. It is derived from formaldehyde, a potential cancer-inducing chemical.
The highly carcinogenic formalin is used by unscrupulous distributors so that the fish don’t decay during its transportation from far away states like Andhra Pradesh and other states. UNI RRK SSP

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