More than a month after the formalin scare forced the Goa government to stop buying fish from other states, a traders’ body Wednesday claimed that they will start importing fish from Thursday.
However, the administration is yet to take a call on allowing import of fish though it had indicated that fish from neighbouring Karnataka and Maharashtra might be allowed to help small-time fishermen.
“Wholesale traders are in possession of a requisite permission from the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and will carry fish in insulated trucks from tomorrow,” said Ibrahim Maulana, president, Margao Wholesale Fish Market Association (MWFMA), a body of fish importers.
The Goa Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) banned import of fish from other states on October 29 amid a growing concern over the alleged presence of formalin, a preservative that is believed to be carcinogenic.
The FDA had directed the traders to secure a permission from the concerned authorities. “We have applied for the trade licence from the concerned authorities by providing all the required documents.
We also have got a permission from the FSSAI. We will transport fish in insulated vehicles,” Maulana told PTI. The wholesale traders in Goa would resume their business from Thursday, he said.
When contacted, Goa Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane Wednesday said the state government is firm on its stand that the traders will have to comply with the guidelines.
“There will be no compromise on the safety standards for fish. I have asked State Health Secretary to submit me a
detailed report by reviewing the existing situation,” he said.
When asked whether the traders would be allowed to import fish, Rane said he would be able to brief media only after going through the report of the Secretary.
The minister Tuesday said the government was thinking of relaxing the ban on fish coming from Karnataka and Maharashtra that are located within the 60-km periphery of the Goa border, to help small-time fishermen who use canoes.
The issue of alleged use of formalin in fish was raised aggressively by the Congress in the monsoon session of
the Legislative Assembly. The import was initially banned for 15 days by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in July-August this year, which was lifted subsequently.
However, the ban was reimposed last month by Rane amid a hue and cry generated by the opposition parties on the formalin issue.