As the state government’s six-month ban on fish imports began Monday, several trucks were turned away from the Goa border.
The move comes against the backdrop of a scare that formalin, a potential cancer-causing chemical, was being used to preserved fish in the state, with State Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane calling it a “much-needed measure for food security”.
Earlier, the state government had announced that a laboratory would be set up to check the quality of fishes coming in to Goa from other states.
Rane said a big indicator of the “existing problem” was that “not a single trader has registered according to the FDA guidelines, nor introduced a truck as required by the guidelines”. The government had told traders to use insulated vehicles, ensure scientific stacking of ice to fish ratio, and maintain cleanliness parameters for transporting fish.
“We gave them enough time and asked them to get themselves FDA approved and also ensure that they have FDA transport permit based on guidelines set. Not a single trader has listed themselves and it only shows that compliance is still not in place,” Rane said.
Claiming that the ban on fish imports was a “confidence-building measure”, the minister added: “For now we are saying six months. But if they (traders) comply and register, and ensure that their vehicles are insulated then we do not mind starting (imports) again.”
Stakeholders in the tourism sector, however, have said that with the tourism season set to start, there could be a shortage of fish in the next few weeks.
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