Two days after a notification was issued in Nagaland prohibiting the sale of formalin-laced fresh fish products, the Kohima district administration seized such products treated with preservatives, from four vehicles, worth about Rs 10 lakh. Nagaland Food Safety Commissioner-cum-Commissioner and Secretary Himato Zhimomi on June 22 had prohibited the storage, distribution, and sale of fresh fish products treated with formalin or other forms of preservatives in the state for a period of three months or till corrective measures were taken.
Formalin is used to preserve bodies and prevent its decay in mortuaries. The widespread use of the deadly chemical nowadays in the preservation of fish, fruit and other food items is posing a great threat to public health.
Crustaceans such as crab, lobsters, and prawns were included among the fresh fish products in the notification.
Zhimomi had said that a fine of Rs 10 lakh with imprisonment under relevant sections of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 would be imposed on those found violating the order.
Officials from the district administration, Municipal Council and Health and Family Welfare intercepted the four vehicles transporting the fresh fish products and seized the four-wheelers, the police said.
On testing, the fish products were found to have been treated with formalin, the police said. The drivers of the four vehicles along with the seized fish products were handed over to South Police Station in Kohima.
The fish products were disposed at the KMC dumping site in the presence of the Food Safety Commissioner.
The notification had said that fish vendors were found to be selling fish products, including crustaceans, in the state treated with formalin, which is highly toxic and injurious to health.
Nearly 9,600 kg of fish, preserved in toxic chemical formalin, was seized at the border check post of Arayankavu in Kollam district. The state food safety department officials intercepted a cargo of chemical-laced fish from Tuticorin in neighboring Tamil Nadu, at the check post last night, a release said here today.
The fish that arrived in two vehicles included 7000 kg of prawns and 2600 kg of other species. A total of 21,600 kg of fish with formalin had been seized after the launch of ‘Operation Sagar Rani,’ a drive to ensure safety and hygiene at fish handling and distribution centres, it said.
The Food Safety Department had launched ‘Operation Sagar Rani’ last month with special focus on fish stock, following a directive from the Health Minister K K Shailaja in this regard.
In view of frequent seizures of chemically-contaminated fish, state Food Safety Commissioner, M G Rajamanickam also issued orders to expand raids to local markets to detect the presence of chemicals in fish. Meanwhile, a group of fisherfolks from the coastal area today held a demonstration in front of the Secretariat here by cooking and serving fish delicacies to alleviate fear among public about the sea food. A large number of people enjoyed the free feast offered by the fisher women community.