Only formalin-free fish can be sold, says FSC

Correspondent KOHIMA, JUL 14 (NPN) | Publish Date: 7/14/2018 11:43:19 PM IST
Food Safety Commissioner (FSC), Himato Zhimomi, Saturday said the department had only banned those fish containing toxic chemical (formalin) and that any fish without formalin was allowed to be sold in the market.
The food safety commissioner told Nagaland Post that the ban on imported fish would be lifted any time once the fish was found without formalin.
Zhimomi said that no one has arrested so far in connection with sale of formalin-laced fish, but added that he was in contact with counterparts in Andhra Pradesh and Assam from where the fish is imported.
He informed that Andhra Pradesh government was in the process of forming a committee to probe the case. The commissioner, however, said that even if formalin-free certification is issued in Andhra Pradesh, the same would do tested in Nagaland since foul play could happen during transportation and storage.
When asked if there was any provision to compensate the fish traders since most of them claim to be innocent and made huge loss, commissioner said there was no question of compensating them as they were equally wrong and liable to be punished with fine and imprisonment. However, since this was the first case in the state, he said the government was lenient this time. He said the Centre was very serious about food adulteration, adding that under the Food Safety Act, food adulterators were liable to life imprisonment.
The commissioner also warned local fish sellers that they were liable to be punished under the Act if found selling formalin-laced fish. He suggested that fish sellers should upgrade their system with cold storage and maintain proper hygiene.
Zhimomi said that the department was doing its job for the safety of everybody and to ensure that no consumer was cheated with harmful chemical. In this regard, the commissioner has sought the cooperation of the public and traders to effectively check the harmful practices.
Formalin in fish detected in Wka
Food safety team conducted random sampling test of formalin content in fishes from various fish kiosk in and around Wokha district on July 13, 2018 and out of the six samples collected, one tested positive for presence of formalin.
Five-member food safety team led by State Public Health Laboratory (SPHL) food analyst, Khrukutolu Veswuh, comprised of  food security officer Wokha, Pelerienuo Kehie, deputy chief medical officer Wokha,  Dr.Zuben Kikon, media officer (CMO) office Wokha and EAC HQ, Tumpen P Tsanglao.
According to an official bulletin, earlier samples taken from the same area also tested positive as per report from received from the SPHL. It stated that the contaminated fishes were seized for destruction.
On the same day, the team also visited Doyang to collect samples from the fish depots. 
At Doyang, six species of fishes were tested from the local fish storage where freezers containing ice were also tested but found to be negative.
The responsible authority is currently investigating the source of formalin contamination in the district, it stated.
Further, the authority has directed fish vendors to obtain clearance certificates from the FSO Wokha if they wished to sell fish.
Around 14kg contaminated fishes tested positive were destroyed the same day in presence of officials.
All fish, imported or local, treated with formalin, has been banned in Wokha district as per the standing prohibitory order issued by Food Safety commissioner.
Further, the department has informed that random spot testing would be carried out in the district and defaulters would be penalized and legal course of action would be taken as per the provision under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

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