BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Government on Thursday asked fisheries officials to examine whether fish from other States, including neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, is laced with any disease causing chemicals. The order came a day after Assam Government banned fish imports due to presence of formalin, a cancer causing chemical. Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Minister Pradeep Maharathy said Fisheries Secretary has been asked to conduct a probe and direct officials of Directorate of Fisheries to check the quality of fish imported from other States.
“I am told that fish imported from Andhra Pradesh is dipped in formalin solution by the traders at the packing point to maintain freshness for a long time. I have directed officials to look into the matter as the dangerous chemical leads to serious health hazards,” he said. The Fisheries officials have been instructed to examine fish, especially those coming from Andhra Pradesh, with the help of experts. The Minister assured that stringent action will be taken after the Department gets the probe report.
Both, Health and Fisheries Departments had received allegations on the availability of formalin laced fish in most of the towns in the State. Traders either dip the fish in formalin solution or spray it to prevent the produce from decaying. 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 formalinlaced fish is cooked, the compound continues to release carcinogenic toxins in the body.
As immediate effects, it leads to vomiting, abdominal pain, unconsciousness and skin irritation. Sources said, Odisha imports nearly 37,000 tonne of fish, most of which comes from Andhra Pradesh. People in urban areas here are fond of ‘rohu’ from AP due to its easy availability. On Wednesday, Assam Government had banned import and sale of fish imported from Andhra Pradesh and other States for 10 days after laboratory tests revealed presence of formalin in the samples. Earlier, formalin-laced fish was seized in huge quality in States like Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Health and Family Welfare Minister Pratap Jena also assured to look into the allegations and ask officials to spread awareness on the impacts of chemicallaced fish on public health.