Officials test a fish sample at Charbati in Sambalpur on Thursday I Express
SAMBALPUR: Traces of formalin have been found in samples collected from two roadside vendors at Charbati area in the city on Thursday.A joint team of Fisheries department and Sambalpur Municipal Corporation (SMC), which conducted raids, said the fishes were from Andhra Pradesh.Deputy Director of Fisheries, Sambalpur Zone, Pabitra Kumar Behera said colour of the chemically treated paper changed during the test leading to suspicion that there is formalin in the two fish samples.
However, it was a primary test and they will send the samples to the State Laboratory for confirmation. The two fish samples, which have been collected for laboratory test, are ‘Labeo Findriteus’, locally known as Khursia Rohi, and ‘Labeo Calbasu’, locally known as Kala Bainsi. The two fish varieties are generally found in South India, said Behera. About 50 quintals of fishes of different varieties are brought from Andhra Pradesh to Sambalpur district daily.
However, procurement of fish from the neighbouring State has drastically come down after the formalin issue cropped up, he said. Food Safety Officer of SMC, Pratap Rudra Mandal, said the Fisheries department has provided a kit for spot testing. They conducted spot test at Ainthapali, Kamlibazar and other areas of the city but could not find presence of formalin in any of the samples there. On July 17, they had raided different fish markets across the city. Four suspected fish samples have been sent to the State Laboratory for testing. They are yet to get reports of the four samples. Usually, fish traders of Andhra Pradesh use formalin instead of ice to keep the fishes fresh.
Raid on Balangir markets
Balangir: Officials raided the fish markets in Balangir and sent the samples for test to State Laboratory on Thursday. Apparently, many of these markets wore a deserted look as vendors choose to stop selling fishes procured from Andhra Pradesh. Fish trader Purnima Behera said local fishes are in huge demand here but when there is a shortage, vendors prefer to buy fishes from Andhra Pradesh. “With people becoming aware about hazards of consuming fishes preserved with formalin, the business has come down. In the wake of these raids, vendors are also keeping away from the markets,” she said.