SHILLONG, July 23: Fishes imported into Meghalaya has been banned by the state government for a period of 15 days beginning on Monday.
The decision to ban fish imported from outside the state was taken by the state government after fish samples sent to Assam showed positive for the presence of formalin.
In a notification issued here on Monday, the Commissioner of Food Safety, Peter W Ingty said, “The storage, distribution or sale of fresh fish or crustaceans brought from outside the state is hereby prohibited for a period of 15 days in the interest of public health or till corrective measures are taken with effect from the date of issue of this notification,” Ingty said.
He further said that non-compliance will attract imprisonment upto seven years and fine upto Rs 10 lakh.
He further stated that out of the 19 samples tested and reports received, two samples have tested positive.
The government stated that as per the analysis report of the Food Analyst to the government the formalin is highly toxic and injurious to health.
The notification stated that in pursuance of Regulation 3.1.4 of the Food Safety and Standard (Food Products Standards & Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 indicates the preservatives permitted to be used in select articles of food and formalin is not included in the said list of permitted preservatives.
The notification also said, “Distribution, storage and sale of fresh fish treated with formalin or other unpermitted preservatives render the articles unsafe under Section 3 (1)(zz)(v) of the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006.”
Earlier, the Meghalaya government had decided not to ban the import of fish from other states including Andhra Pradesh, while waiting for test reports on samples which were sent for test to a laboratory in Assam.
Moreover, the state government also procured spot testing kits known as “formalin (formaldehyde) detection kits” and carried out spot tests on sample of fish brought from outside the state in markets.