Aftermath of ban on fish treated with formalin

Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, JUL 9 (NPN) | Publish Date: 7/10/2018 11:51:36 PM IST
Two weeks since imported fish varieties were banned after tests found they were injected with formalin, a cancer-causing chemical, to prevent deterioration, all fish stalls in various markets in Dimapur wore a deserted look.
 As a result of the ban by the Dimapur municipal authorities as per directives since June 25, fish consumers in the city are desperate enough to pay twice the amount for local fish varieties which are brought to the kitchens in a pot on a cycle.
Taking advantage of the scarcity , local fish sellers are now selling kilogram of fishes from local fishery ponds for not less than Rs.200 . Customers desperate for fish have no option but to cough out Rs.200 for a kilogram of local fish. 
 A kilogram of fish (smaller sized fish) is sold for about Rs.100 or more . A kilo of boal or bacha fish which was earlier sold for Rs.150 is now sold for Rs.220 . At new market, there was a solitary stall selling fresh local fish for over Rs.200 per kg.
When Nagaland Post spoke to a person whose family eats fish at least thrice a week, he said the scarcity has left them with little choice but to have fish only once a week. 
The fish available is locally grown and supplied at doorstep. 
When contacted Administrator DMC Moa Sangtam said the Municipal Council has no power to lift or impose ban because it is a consequence of laboratory test for formalin conducted by the medical department.
 He also said that local fish were still sold but local fish sellers are not allowed to increase the price on their own and assured that corrective action will be made by DMC.
 Sangtam further informed Nagaland Post that the samples collected by DMC from New Market and Railway bazaar on June 25 were rejected by the mobile testing lab as they were not submitted by a Food and Safety Officer. 
He said DMC was asked to pay Rs 1000 each per fish sample but the testing could not be completed as the fish became rotten so Rs.7000 was returned to the DMC on July 9. 
Nagaland Post also spoke to the Food Safety officer of Dimapur, Sendongkaba Jamir, who disclosed that the ban was not for all fishes but only against those injected with formalin. 
 When asked about the future course of action , he said the government was yet to decide. Nagaland Post also tried contacting the Chief Medical Officer but he could not be reached.
Imported fishes are also banned in all other districts of Nagaland. The ban has also been imposed in Assam on all imported fish varieties.

Food safety authority appeals citizens
DIMAPUR, JUL 10 (NPN): Food Safety Cell under the Department of Health and Family Welfare has appealed to all citizens of Nagaland to extend support in its future plans of action to mitigate the serious issue of unsafe food.
In a press release, state programme officer (SPO) food safety cell, expressed gratitude for the positive response from various departments and organisations of different districts including individuals in the ongoing food safety drive.
It stated that the drive was initiated as an urgent measure to ensure safe and healthy food in the market for public consumption. 
Towards this cause, SPO said certain food items have been tested through proper scientific methods. SPO pointed out that during the drives it was confirmed that “not safe food” proliferated into state market consequentially exposing the public to serious health hazards.
Despite tough challenges faced during the drives, the food safety cell said it could receive strong support from various departments, organisations and individuals. 
“The continuation and success of this cause relies much on the concerted and unflinching commitment from all stakeholders towards making Nagaland Food Safe State and not a dumping ground of unsafe adulterated food,” food safety cell stated.
The department assured that it would do its best to ensure all types of food items available in the market were safe and healthy for human consumption.

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