Meghalaya bans fish import for 15 days after tests reveal formalin content
The state government’s notification stated that distribution, storage and sale of fresh fish treated with formalin or other unpermitted preservatives render the articles “unsafe”.Updated: Jul 23, 2018 22:49 IST
Hindustan Times, Shillong
The Meghalaya government on Monday imposed a 15-day ban on the import and sale of fish from outside the state after laboratory tests detected traces of formalin in some imported fish and warned of heavy fines and imprisonment if the order is flouted.
Recently Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Goa and Kerala had banned imports of fish from other states after traces of formalin were found in imported fish.
“…the storage, distribution or sale of fresh fish or crustaceans brought from outside the state is hereby prohibited for a period of 15 days in the interest of public health or till corrective measures are taken with effect from the date of issue of this notification,” read a notification signed by PW Ingty, state additional chief secretary who is also the commissioner of food safety.
“Non-compliance of this notification will attract imprisonment up to seven years and fine up to Rs 10 lakhs as provided under Section 59 (iv) of the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006.”
It said that out of 19 samples, two tested positive for formalin as per the analysis report of the Food Analyst to the Government dated July 20. Formalin is a carcinogenic chemical normally used to preserve cadavers. Formalin is not included in the government’s list of permitted preservatives for food.
The notification also stated that distribution, storage and sale of fresh fish treated with formalin or other unpermitted preservatives render the articles “unsafe” under Section 3(1)(zz)(v) of the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006.
The decision also came following reports that samples taken from fish markets in Ri Bhoi District revealed formalin content. The onsite test was conducted by a team of experts led by officials from the food and safety and fisheries department at Nongpoh, the district headquarters of Ri Bhoi.
Sources said test reports confirmed formalin content in fish sold in Nongpoh market. One of sample of fish tested positive for the carcinogenic substance.
Recently, health minister AL Hek had said that the state government would not ban such import since samples sent to the State Public Health Laboratory, Assam, Guwahati, had tested negative for formalin.
First Published: Jul 23, 2018 21:35 IST