Traces of Formalin found in fish samples in Sambalpur

Sambalpur: Traces of cancer inducing chemical formalin were found in fish samples collected from Sambalpur town on Thursday. A joint team of Sambalpur Municipal Corporation and officials of the District Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department while raiding a fish market at Kulutakanhi area conducted an on-spot test on two samples of ‘Khurusia Rohi’ and ‘Kala Bainsi’ fishes and found presence of the chemical in it.

The tests were conducted with the help of the CIF kit provided by the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA).

The samples will be sent to laboratory in Bhubaneswar for detailed examination, informed the officials who also conducted similar tests on samples collected from outlets in Ainathapalli, Budharaja, Golbazaar, Kamalibazaar and Govindatala.

“Almost 90 per cent of the fishes in the market are ‘Kala bainsi’. While testing the samples, we found traces of formaldehyde in it. We will continue with the raids on a regular basis to stop import of such chemical laced fishes,” said Deputy Inspector of Sambalpur Fisheries department, Pabitra Behera.

“We tested the fishes with the testing kit. As per the procedure, a strip is swabbed over the surface of fish for two-three minutes. This strip when tested with reagent changed its colour to blue indicating presence of formalin. However, we will be sending across the samples to the laboratory in Bhubaneswar for a detailed examination,” informed Sambalpur Food Safety Officer, Prataprudra Mandal.

“Every small and big market in Sambalpur town is flooded with fishes from Andhra Pradesh. The local supply is not enough to meet the demand in this area and hence the fish traders extensively rely on imported fish from AP. The residents should be made aware of the harm these chemicals can cause and the administration should also take strict action against those selling such poisonous fish,” said Srikant, a local.

However the sellers denied that fishes were being imported from Andhra Pradesh and claimed that their stocks were procured locally.

Similarly, the Khurda district administration along with the District Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department and police conducted raids in Mukundaprasad, Totapara and other fish markets in the district.

“As directed by the Government, raids were conducted and samples were collected from wholesalers and retailer fish traders. These samples will be sent for examination,” Khurda Food Safety Inspector, Satyajit Patel informed.

Searches were also conducted in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela and Bolangir fish markets. Earlier on July 13, formalin traces were found in saltwater Pomfret fish samples collected from Unit-IV fish market in Bhubaneswar.