SHILLONG: According to an official announcement made on June 24, the Meghalayan government has relaxed the ban on the sale of fish and prawns supplied from outside the state.
The sale, distribution, and storage of supplied fish were outlawed by the state government for a period of 15 days after a sample test of fish from a river revealed formalin contamination. The document also stated that violators would face a fine of Rs. 10 lakh and a sentence of seven years in prison.
Thirty of the 40 fish samples tested for formalin, according to a notification from the state's commissioner for food safety, M. Kurbah.
Formalin is not listed among the permissible preservatives in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, which list the preservatives that may be used in specific food articles. According to the notification, fresh fish treated with formalin or other prohibited preservatives makes the distribution, storage, and sale of those products "unsafe" under the 2006 Food Safety and Standard Act.
In May, it was confirmed by experts from the Gauhati University Zoology Department, the Fishery College in Raha, and representatives from the State Food Safety Department that formalin was present in fish samples they had taken from several State districts. The next action the State Government will take to address the threat is highly crucial in light of this disclosure.
The fisheries division of the Assam government reported that formalin contamination in Chalani or imported fish into Assam was detected in 10 out of 86 samples. The fisheries department emphasised that 86 fish samples were collected from every district in the state and analysed for the presence of the fatal formalin in imported fish during a press conference on the subject held today at Gauhati University.