ALAPPUZHA: The state government and Food Safety Department (FSD) have decided to rein in the companies which are distributing formalin to ice factories. The direction was given to the district administrations to take steps to prevent the illegal sale of the chemical to ice factories and fish processing units.
Alappuzha is the major hub of fish processing units and the numbers of ice factories are also high. So the state government directed the District Collector to initiate steps against the factories which are distributing formalin and other chemicals to processing units.
Collector S Suhas said the government has given direction to companies which illegally distributing formalin to ice factories. “Government would take stringent action against the companies which distribute formalin to ice factories,” the Collector said. Earlier, Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma had said a company producing formalin is functioning in Alappuzha, but the minister was not ready to pinpoint the company.
The Factories and Boilers Department officials said only one factory is functioning in the district which produces formalin compound. It is functioning in the Industrial Estate at Pallipuram near Cherthala.
The district is having more than 100 fish processing units and more than 50 ice plants distributing ice to these processing units and vendors. The FSD identified that some processing units are keeping fish in ice mixed with formalin and it is dangerous to health. The companies did not apply formalin directly on the fish. However, they are using ice produced from water mixed with formalin and it easily penetrates the fish and they can be preserved for long, an official of FSD said.
FSD assistant commissioner C L Dileep said the department has carried out raids in more than 50 ice factories in Aroor, Cherthala, Alappuzha, Thottapally and other areas. “The samples were sent to regional chemical laboratory Thiruvananthapuram for detailed examination. The result is not yet received. In the raids we cannot find the presence of formalin in any of the factories or fish processing units,” he said.
Factories and Boilers inspector P Jiju said, a company has been functioning in the industrial estate at Pallipuram. “They are producing formaldehyde, a compound using for plywood industries. No other companies are functioning in the district,” he said.
FSD officials suspect that the formalin is reaching the district from other districts. So they have decided to intensify raids and examination in check posts and ice factories, officers said.
The government has directed the Alappuzha District Collector to initiate steps against factories distributing formalin and other chemicals to processing units
The Factories and Boilers Department officers said only one factory which produces formalin compound is functioning in Alappuzha