AIZAWL, July 15 - Even though no traces of formalin have been found in imported fishes tested so far, Mizoram Health officials have advised the people to take precautions.
Food & Drug authorities are testing samples of imported fishes. The testing began on Wednesday, but they have met with some technical problems, including power supply failures, and the process could not be carried out smoothly.
Meanwhile, samples of three fishes tested at Forensic Science Laboratory in Aizawl have found no trace of formalin.
The State Government had ordered testing of imported fish for formalin following rumours in social media that the chemical was being injected in imported fishes, especially Andhra Pradesh to prevent fish from deteriorating during transportation.
The Health officials said that since the samples collected were few, it cannot be concluded that there is no formalin in all the fishes imported to Mizoram. Therefore, they advised the people to take precautions.
The Forensic officials said they collected fishes from Aizawl Market, and are planning to collect from other markets too.
Import of fishes have already been banned in neighbouring Manipur, Nagaland and Assam after traces of formalin were found in imported fishes.
Formalin is often used to preserve fish, which is an easily perishable food whose value depends on its freshness. And when fish is imported from another State, to prevent rot during transport, fish traders are suspected to be using formalin.
Formalin is derived from formaldehyde, which is a substance that is carcinogenic to humans. The reason why formalin is a favourite preservative is that once laced with it fish or other sea produce will remain intact for many days.