The Odisha government on Thursday ordered authorities to examine fish brought from Andhra Pradesh to detect the presence of formalin, a carcinogenic organic compound. The move came after the Assam government on Wednesday banned the sale of fish imported from Andhra Pradesh.
Formalin is a preservative derived from formaldehyde. It can cause nausea, coughing and a burning sensation in the eyes, nose and throat in the short term, and is found to cause cancer if consumed over a long period of time.
“Fish samples imported from Andhra Pradesh will be examined in a laboratory,” Odisha’s Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Minister Pradeep Maharathy told The News Minute. “[The] Secretary of Directorate of Fisheries has been asked to conduct an inquiry into the matter and submit a report,” he said, adding that the department will take necessary action based on the report.
Odisha’s Health and Family Welfare minister Pratap Jena said his department will conduct an investigation into the matter, PTI reported on Thursday.
The Assam government banned the sale of fish from Andhra Pradesh and other states for 10 days after detecting the presence of formalin in the seafood. Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Pijush Hazarika confirmed that a test of fish samples brought from other states showed the presence of formalin.
On July 9, at least 11 out of 30 samples of fish species purchased from Chintadripet and Kasimedu – two major fish markets in Chennai – tested positive for formalin
On June 24, over 6,000 kg of seafood laced with formalin was seized at a border check-post at Walayar in Kerala’s Palakkad. The seized fish, prawn and shrimp were brought in from Andhra Pradesh.
In January, Union Minister for Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh launched rapid detection kits to detect if fish have been preserved with formalin.