Meghalaya government on Monday issued an order banning sale of fish imported from outside the state for a period of 15 days after some samples tested positive for presence of formalin, an official said.
“Storage, distribution or sale of fresh fish or crustaceans brought from outside the state is hereby prohibited for a period of 15 days in the interest of public health or till corrective measures are taken with effect from the date of issue of this notification,” additional chief secretary and food safety commissioner P W Ingty said.
Non-compliance to this notification will attract imprisonment up to seven years and fine up to Rs 10 lakh as provided under Section 59 (iv) of the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006, he said.
The order was issued following the receipts of two fish samples which tested positive for presence of formalin. The samples were tested at the Assam-based Public Health Laboratory, Food Safety Deputy Commissioner S N Sangma told PTI.
Formalin is a colourless solution of formaldehyde in water, used chiefly as a preservative for biological specimens.
The two samples tested positive for presence of formalin were taken from Jowai town of West Jaintia Hills district and Nongpoh, the district headquarter of Ri-Bhoi.
“Out of the six samples received today, two tested positive and necessary recommendations were made to the government for immediate banning of fish imported from outside the state,” Sangma said.
Test results of another seven samples out of the 26 samples which were earlier this month sent to the laboratory for test for presence of formalin was awaited, he said.
Meghalaya Fisheries Minister Comingone Ymbon said the state imports about 21,000 MT of fishes mostly from Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam.
The state produced only about 12,330 MT during financial year 2016-17 while the total requirement is about 33,000 MT annually, he had said.