KOCHI: For fish lovers in the state, it came as a rude shock when 150 kilos of stale fish were seized in Thiruvananthapuram.The joint raid by food safety, fisheries and health departments puts the focus back on the adulteration of marine wealth. Despite officials in district claiming that only good quality fish are sold here, people continue to be apprehensive.
“We conducted routine inspections at all major markets in Kochi ever since the trawl ban came into effect. Raids were conducted at Chambakkara, Palluruthy, Mattancherry and Muvattupuzha. Even harbours were not exempted. We send around 125 samples for examination and not a single one tested positive for formalin or any other chemical. Five samples have been sent for detailed examination at Kakkanad Regional Lab. We are waiting for the results,” said Jacob Thomas, assistant commissioner, Food Safety Department. The majority of fish sold here come from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
The sale is going on as usual. “The trawling ban did have some effect. But, the sale is the same. That's because what we get from Tamil Nadu is of good quality,” said Babu, a vendor at Chambakkara Market. However, many are doubtful. “The produce sold in Thiruvananthapuram came from Tamil Nadu, how come it is not adulterated when it reaches Kochi?” said Bindu, a resident of Kochi. An official with the Fisheries Department said this is because major markets are always under surveillance.“They know they are under the radar. We can assure the fish sold in city markets are free from chemicals. However, stale fish were seized from suburbs,” he added.
Veggie prices go up
The hike in diesel prices announced in the latest Union Budget has caused a hike in vegetable prices.
“It’s normal for the prices of vegetables to go up. With diesel prices increasing, the rent for lorries hike. Now, we have to pay an additional Rs 4,000 for every load. We are also worried about the drought in Tamil Nadu, which is causing a price hike,” says Ismail, a wholesale vendor at Ernakulam Market.