Fish traders and suppliers in Andhra Pradesh have held local politics of Assam, Nagaland and Goa responsible for allegations that fish from the state was contaminated with formalin.
By blaming fish from AP, local wholesalers and retailers “drastically” increased prices of locally sourced fish, a top office-bearer of the state fish traders’ association said on Monday.
“In Assam, the cost of locally cultured rohu and catla has gone up from Rs 150 per kg to Rs 600-800 after the Assam government imposed a 10-day ban (on fish from AP),” U Krishna Prasad, president, AP Fish Traders and Packers Association, said. “Aquaculture has started in Assam also but locals are not getting good price because the quality of AP fish is better and has high demand. Due to local politics, they started rumours about poison in AP fish to stop import, so that local fish farmers benefit from increased prices.”
On Monday, the Meghalaya government issued a 14-day ban on sale of fish supplied from outside the state after some samples tested positive for formalin, PTI reported.
In an effort to reassure governments of North-eastern states that formalin is not used in AP, and to help the officials there to test fish arriving from AP, the state Fisheries Department has procured dozens of kits — known as CIFTest-Rapid Detection Kits — developed by Central Institute of Fisheries Technologies, Kochi, and supplied them to inspectors there.
The AP association has thrown a challenge for anyone to prove presence of formalin in any fish container from AP that is opened in their presence.
Krishna Prasad said, “All fish-packing units in AP use very advanced packing and sealing technology. The fish packed in ice in insulated containers remain fresh for up to 10 days. We don’t have to use any preservatives. All these claims of formalin in AP fish are false. They are painting the entire aquaculture industry with one brush and mixing both freshwater and sea fish samples.”
Several traders from AP accompanied a multi-disciplinary team comprising veterinaries, fisheries officers, and food safety standards officials from AP on a visit last week to West Bengal, Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Goa and inspected fish consignments arriving from the state.