Goa will not mind banning the import of fish if impurities are found in it, state Food and Drugs Administration Vishwajit Rane said today. He was speaking on the alleged U-turn of the FDA on the presence of formaldehyde or formalin in fish coming into Goa from other states.
The FDA had raided wholesale fish markets in Margao in South Goa and Panaji in North Goa on Thursday and its “spot analysis” of the fish had shown the presence of formalin. However, the FDA, on Friday, issued a statement which said that the formalin found in the sampled fish was “on par” with its “naturally occurring” levels and that there was no “added amount” of it.
The opposition parties had alleged that the FDA’s about-turn on the formalin issue was due to political influence. Rane today denied any pressure on the FDA and said that it was an institution of “high credibility”. “Rest assured if we have a situation where we need to take strict action, which includes banning the import of fish, we will take prompt action,” the minister said in a press note released today. Rane informed that the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology had provided a spot testing kit, called CIFtest, to detect formaldehyde in fish.
“The test consists of strips which detect if the level of formaldehyde in the fish is more than 4 parts per million. If it is so, then necessary action is taken,” Rane said. State Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai, addressing media in Margao, said that the FDA should conduct regular checks to ensure fish was free of chemicals. He said that the import of fish should be banned if it was found to contain formalin. “Not just fish, but all food items should be checked to ensure we give our people the best quality,” he said.