Panaji, July 18: Badgered by media over the safety of the fish sold in Goa, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar snapped back at a journalist, asking if he should enter the reporter’s stomach to check the fish he had eaten. “Should I look into your stomach? Should I enter your stomach and tell you if it (fish) was safe or not? What we tested the other day, we gave you the report. You go to an expert. Don’t go to people who give stories to newspapers...,” Parrikar said at a press conference here, while faulting the media for choosing experts who he said were news savvy, to comment on the use of carcinogenic formalin for fish preservation. “The expert you are referring to and yourself are (making) comments which create confusion,” Parrikar said, when the reporter continued to ask him if the fish consumed by Goans before Wednesday’s ban was safe.
The 15-day ban was imposed after the state government faced flak from several quarters over reports on the use of formalin, a powerful disinfectant used in mortuaries to preserve cadavers, to preserve fish during transportation by traders. Parrikar also refused to say whether tests conducted by the Food and Drugs Administration on fish consignments were incriminating and the reason for the ban. “I am not going into tests, since I have banned the fish. There is no point in discussing issues that possibly no one has understood properly. So I will not comment on that,” he said.
State FDA officials last Friday raided fish consignments from Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra and claimed that formaldehyde or formalin was used to preserve fish. The controversy snowballed after Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai, soon after the raid, tweeted that the fish was fit for consumption, following which an FDA statement said that the chemical was “within permissible limits”.(ians)