Its confirmed! Formalin traces found in ‘Pomfret’ fish samples in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The confirmation that fish stocks in Odisha are laced with deadly cancer-causing ‘Formalin’ has rung alarm bells among fish eaters here who form a majority of the state’s population.

Confirming the development, Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Secretary Vishal Gagan on Friday stated that, “Traces of cancer-causing Formalin was found in Pomfret fish samples collected from Unit-4 fish market in Bhubaneswar.”

Gagan further informed that samples of around nine varieties of fish were collected from Unit-4 fish market and formalin traces were found in Pomfret fish samples.

Commenting on the matter, Agriculture and Animal Resources Development minister Pradeep Maharathy said “No Formalin traces were found in fish consignment that reached Odisha in 9 trucks; 1 sample from Unit-4 market in Bhubaneswar tested positive. Task forces will be set up in all districts & letters will be issued to concerned collectors.”

The samples were collected as a precautionary measure after Assam recently banned fish imports from Andhra Pradesh following detection of formalin presence in the stocks.

The samples of fish imported from other states were collected on June 29 and after lab tests the presence of formalin was detected.

According to experts, the chemical is a carcinogenic substance used to preserve cadaver. Formalin is used to lace fish and other sea produce so that the stocks remain intact for many days.

“The pomfret sample collected from a shop has tested postive and soon efforts are on to ascertain from where the seller had procured the stock and the entire stock will be destroyed if more fish test postive,” Gagan added.

Senior officials of Odisha government informed that already special kits have been sent to several coastal districts where huge quantities of fish are being imported from other neighbouring States.

A committee under district collectors will be formed to keep a supervision on fish sale and imports and ensure no adulteration and prohibitory substances are used to preserve the stock.

A coordinated effort will be made with assistance from health and municipal corporation to keep tight vigil.

As only one sample has tested positive out of nine samples, we are now concentrating on collecting information from various parts of the State and will take appropriate decision regarding a ban on fish imports.

“Last year the total fish production in Odisha was around 6.5 lakh tonne and this year we are going to be self sufficient in inland production. Besides, we have targetted to increase the production to fill up the gap in demand and supply,” Gagan said.