The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raided fish markets in north and south Goa after they got reports of increasing use of formaldehyde, a strong disinfectant used in morgues, on fish samples, to increase their shelf lives.
Samples from 17 fish trucks from different southern states, along with Orissa, were picked for laboratory tests. The raids, FDA themselves confirmed was conducted in a “war footing”.
While the laboratory results were still awaited, the vendors went to appeal to minister Vijay Sardesai who tweeted “Any knee-jerk action aimed at creating panic is uncalled for. Have spoken to Hon CM @manoharparrikar & concerned authorities expressing this view. Thankfully FDA has now confirmed that reports indicate fish showing no trace of formalin and hence #safe. #Goemkars may not worry !”
However, an FDA statement arrived soon confirming the traces of the chemical. “The samples tested positive, showing presence of formaldehyde. Hence, as an abundant precaution, the fish vendors were instructed not to distribute the stock of fish until the detailed laboratory reports were available.”
But they also added, “The results obtained for all the samples are found within permissible limits. The samples are thus declared to be safe for consumption. The whole process of sampling, as well as detailed analysis, was undertaken on top priority basis, keeping in mind the perishable nature of fish.”
Reacting to the incident, the Opposition has called the entire exercise “political”, saying that the presence of the chemical is not safe for consumption, and that the results could have been diluted to support the fisher community. FDA officials were unable for comment.