PATNA: Bihar’s health department is considering a ban on the entry of fish from Andhra Pradesh into the state after two tests on samples found the presence of carcinogenic material used for their preservation.
Pashupati Kumar Paras, the minister for animal husbandry and fisheries in Bihar, said the results of the chemical analysis have been referred to the state health department along with a request to consider banning the import of fish from Andhra Pradesh to ensure public health.
“We took the decision after the tests confirmed that fish coming from Andhra Pradesh and being consumed by people in Bihar has layers of preservatives containing high doses of formalin and other material that can cause cancer,” said Paras on Tuesday. “The health department is empowered to issue a ban, and they will take an appropriate decision,” he added.
As many as 38 samples of fish coming to Bihar from Andhra Pradesh were picked from 25 districts, including Patna, and sent for a chemical analysis at Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Kochi, said sources in the animal husbandry and fisheries department.
Samples of the same fish were also sent simultaneously to Food Testing Laboratory (FTL) in Kolkata for a chemical analysis. The samples were sent on July 23 and the results were received on August 31, said officials.
“Reports from both the institutes have confirmed that these fish samples from Andhra Pradesh have layers of preservative containing high doses of formalin, lead and cadmium. Intake of these chemicals along with the fish can lead to cancer,” said a senior official of the animal husbandry and fisheries department.
Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey said his department would consider the issue carefully before taking a decision. “Ensuring public health is of paramount importance,” he said.
Consignments of fish from Andhra Pradesh regularly reaches Patna, Muzaffarpur, Katihar and Rohtas districts, from where they are sent to other parts of the state. An estimated 55,000 metric tonnes of fish imported from Andhra Pradesh is consumed in Bihar every year. Bihar produces 5.87 lakh tonnes of fish annually against a requirement of 6.42 lakh tonnes, said officials.