BHUBANESWAR: Test reports on Friday confirmed formalin content in fish being sold in Bhubaneswar market. The carcinogenic substance tested positive in one out of nine samples of fish.
A 12-member team of experts led by officials from Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department had conducted raids in different fish markets and Chilika Fresh outlets in the city following orders from minister Pradeep Maharathy.
The team collected at least nine fish samples from the market at Unit-IV. The samples included rohu, prawn, mirkali, crabs and pomfret.
Fisheries Department secretary Vishal Gagan said, one of the nine samples collected from shop number 3 was tested positive for formalin. "I have directed officials to go to the shopkeeper to ascertain the source of the chemical used and to destroy stocks if any," he said.
The state government has directed district collectors to examine fish sold in their respective areas to find any trace of formalin. The districts which supply fish to different towns in the state are under surveillance.
"We have supplied fish testing kits to the districts to examine the fish samples. The officials will conduct raids at regular interval and make traders aware about the deadly formalin chemical. Strong action would be initiated against those involved in illegal practices," he warned.
The Odisha Government is also in touch with the Assam Government to find a solution for the issue. On Wednesday, the Assam Government had banned import and sale of fish from Andhra Pradesh and other states for ten days, after laboratory tests revealed the presence of formalin in samples.
Experts said formalin contains at least 40 per cent formaldehyde, which if consumed for a long time, may cause cancer and even death.
Even if the formalin-laced fish is cooked, the compound continues to release carcinogenic toxins in the body. As immediate effects, it leads to vomiting, abdominal pain, unconsciousness and irritation on skin.
On Thursday, Maharathy had directed Fisheries Secretary to conduct a probe and direct officials of Directorate of Fisheries to check the quality of fish imported from other states.