Herald: Fish positive for formalin in morning, levels found permissible by evening
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Fish positive for formalin in morning, levels found permissible by evening

13 Jul 2018 06:47am IST
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13 Jul 2018 06:47am IST
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Based on lab tests, the Dept claimed that samples were found within permissible limits and declared the fish safe for consumption; N Goa team took just three samples from the Panjim market; It was unclear whether these samples tested positive

Team Herald


MARGAO: The Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration raided the wholesale fish market at Fatorda on Thursday at around 4 am and spot test of the samples revealed the presence of formalin, a known carcinogen. 

According to a FDA press release, the FDA had deputed two teams, one each in North Goa and South Goa. The South Goa team collected samples from 17 trucks, which import fish from other states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. 

Pedi, mackarels, tarle, gobro and other fish samples tested positive for formaldehyde. As a precautionary measure, the fish vendors were instructed not to distribute the stock of fish till a detailed laboratory report was made available. The fish samples were brought to the FDA laboratory in Bambolim and were subjected to qualitative analysis.

Based on the tests, the FDA claimed that all the samples were found within permissible limits, based on which the FDA later declared the fish safe for consumption.

Meanwhile all fish vendors from Mapusa market refrained from selling fish in protest after the FDA raided fish trucks in Margao for presence of dangerous chemicals. At the end of the day, the ones who suffered were the locals who had to return back home disappointed.

The President of the Mapusa Fish Vendors’ Association, Shashikala Govekar, went on to inform that they had gone to Margao and it was noticed that chemicals were found in prawns and verle.

The North Goa FDA team took just three fish samples from the Panjim market. It was not clear from the press release whether these samples tested positive during the tests.

Fatorda MLA was one of the first to announce the lab test result. In his tweet, he said that the report indicates that no traces of formalin were found in the samples.

When contacted, FDA Director, Jyoti Sardesai informed that the “spot tests” were conducted at the wholesale fish market. 

She said the tests are within “permissible limits” but did not reveal the name of the tests, claiming that it is a “test for formalin”. 

Without revealing the error margin in the test, she said that the spot tests check only the presence of formalin as the quantity of formalin is measured in the laboratory. 

She also did not disclose the actual number of samples collected per truck. The FDA press release too did not reveal the actual levels of formalin in the fish or the permissible limit of the carcinogen.

Fisheries Minister Vinod Palyekar and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane have not released any official statement on the issue. 

Till 8.30 pm, when Herald tried to contact senior food safety officer Iva Fernandes, she was not available for comments as her phone was switched off. 

Sources informed Herald that the officers were still in the Bambolim office at that time.

Around 30-50 trucks from other states reportedly enter the wholesale fish market at Margao. The fish is sold to vendors and hotels from all across Goa.

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