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Imported fish back in State markets

By Rituraj Borthakur
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GUWAHATI, July 25 - As import of fish from Andhra Pradesh and other states resumed today, the Assam government has decided to prohibit loose sale of formalin in the State.

The decision to regulate sale of formalin (formaldehyde) was taken at a high-level meeting attended by top officials of the fishery, health, veterinary and food safety departments today. Four senior officers from Andhra Pradesh, including the state�s fishery commissioner Ram Shankar Naik and a leading farmer, also attended the meeting.

�The Andhra Pradesh government has been insisting that no formalin was detected in fishes which were exported from the state. They had been claiming that there was every possibility of traders using the chemicals after it reached Assam. So, it was decided that from now on loose sale of formalin will be prohibited. Only institutionalized sale � like those required for laboratories and other institutions � will be permitted,� a source privy to the meeting told The Assam Tribune.

The meeting also decided that district fishery officers will be given powers of a food safety officer for the next three months. The power can be exercised only in case of fish products. An inter-departmental committee was also formed to monitor the quality of fish imports.

�Four squads will be formed in Guwahati for regular sampling and checking, both at the wholesale market and retail. Deputy commissioners have been directed to form similar inter-departmental teams in the district level for regular checking of the imported fish,� the source said.

The source said the Andhra Pradesh government has taken full responsibility of the imported fish till it reaches Guwahati and the consignments will come in sealed boxes with special stickers. �There will be a joint mechanism between Andhra and Assam government to ensure that hygienic fish is supplied to the consumers,� he said.

The Andhra Pradesh team today conducted tests on the fishes at the Betkuchi market after the consignments reached the State following a ten-day ban. Three samples were also collected by the State food safety officers. All the samples tested negative for formalin. Over 10,000 tonnes of fish is imported to the State from outside, and 90 per cent of it comes from Andhra Pradesh.

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Imported fish back in State markets

GUWAHATI, July 25 - As import of fish from Andhra Pradesh and other states resumed today, the Assam government has decided to prohibit loose sale of formalin in the State.

The decision to regulate sale of formalin (formaldehyde) was taken at a high-level meeting attended by top officials of the fishery, health, veterinary and food safety departments today. Four senior officers from Andhra Pradesh, including the state�s fishery commissioner Ram Shankar Naik and a leading farmer, also attended the meeting.

�The Andhra Pradesh government has been insisting that no formalin was detected in fishes which were exported from the state. They had been claiming that there was every possibility of traders using the chemicals after it reached Assam. So, it was decided that from now on loose sale of formalin will be prohibited. Only institutionalized sale � like those required for laboratories and other institutions � will be permitted,� a source privy to the meeting told The Assam Tribune.

The meeting also decided that district fishery officers will be given powers of a food safety officer for the next three months. The power can be exercised only in case of fish products. An inter-departmental committee was also formed to monitor the quality of fish imports.

�Four squads will be formed in Guwahati for regular sampling and checking, both at the wholesale market and retail. Deputy commissioners have been directed to form similar inter-departmental teams in the district level for regular checking of the imported fish,� the source said.

The source said the Andhra Pradesh government has taken full responsibility of the imported fish till it reaches Guwahati and the consignments will come in sealed boxes with special stickers. �There will be a joint mechanism between Andhra and Assam government to ensure that hygienic fish is supplied to the consumers,� he said.

The Andhra Pradesh team today conducted tests on the fishes at the Betkuchi market after the consignments reached the State following a ten-day ban. Three samples were also collected by the State food safety officers. All the samples tested negative for formalin. Over 10,000 tonnes of fish is imported to the State from outside, and 90 per cent of it comes from Andhra Pradesh.