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No U-turn on fish results: FDA

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The Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in Goa on Friday said that there was no U-turn by the FDA with regards to tests conducted on fish in a raid on Thursday.

A statement from the FDA here said, they had received communication from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to furnish details of sampling of fish and detections of contaminants of fish with Formalin if Positive; by lab reports.

”Also keeping in mind the reports of banning of import of fish from Chennai by the State of Assam due to Formalin contamination, and to ensure that the fish received by our State from Chennai is free from contamination the FDA officials had visited wholesale fish market at Margao and fish Market at Panaji on July 12, 2018, to draw the fish samples,” it said.

Spot tests carried out on the samples indicated presence of Aldehydes, which is a family of organic compounds which includes formaldehyde. Formaldehyde in its liquid form is known as formalin. Among all the aldehydes, formalin (formaldehyde) is carcinogenic, if consumed in excess.

To rule out the presence of added Formaldehyde in the fish samples same were subjected to detailed testing at FDA laboratory at Bambolim and the results were found to be within permissible limit.

Spot test carried out for detection of Aldehyde is only an indicative test and unless the confirmatory tests are carried out in the Laboratory to ascertain the presence of formalin quality, fish cannot be declared as positive for Formalin content.

It is to be noted that Marine fish naturally contains certain amount of Formalin. As per the report published by Society of Fisheries Technologists (India) the concentration of Formaldehyde in Marine fish is found to be varying between 2.38 to 2.95 mg/kg; fish/shellfish 0.33 to 16 mg/kg.etc.

The Scientific papers published in the International Journal of Fisheries and aquatic studies shows that freshly caught fishes contains presence of naturally occurring formaldehyde in the range of 1.45 mg/Kg to 2.6 mg/Kg. However, the concentration may vary depending upon the commodity, the geographical condition, the marine waters.

The Laboratory analysis performed on the fish samples drawn from Margao wholesale market and Panjim market showed the results on par with the naturally occurring concentration for the different fishes tested ruling out the possibility of added amount of formalin.

In the afternoon on July 12, 2018, two more samples of Verli (silver fish) and Mackerels were drawn by the FDA officials from Old Goa and these samples also showed positive for Aldehydes by the spot test however, upon laboratory analysis no added formalin was detected.

FDA Goa on Friday received the "CIFTest" Formaldehyde detection kit for fresh fish developed by ICAR Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Mastsyapuri, Cochin, and the above two samples were also tested by the kit and the same did not show presence of formalin.

The FDA would continue its drive to test the samples of fish for presence of formalin contamination to assure the public of Goa that the fish available in Goa was safe for public consumption.

The public were requested not to panic regarding the quality of fish available in the state, the statement added.

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Sale of salani fish banned in Assam

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Ban follows after fish samples found with formalin

GUWAHATI, July 10: Dispur on Tuesday banned procurement of frozen fish (commonly known as salani fish) from outside Assam and any sale of the same in markets for the next ten days.

The ban has been imposed after the Public Health Laboratory, Assam confirmed use of formalin in some samples of such fish collected by officials of the Commissionerate of Food Safety from Pamohi wholesale market in the city on June 29.

A solution of 35 to 40 per cent of water in formaldehyde or methanal is called formalin. Formalin is a strong disinfectant and tissue hardener and it is used for preserving biological and anatomical specimens. It is also used as an antiseptic in sterilizing surgical instruments. Use of such chemicals to keep fish fresh for a longer period causes serious health hazards for fish-eating population.

“After 10 days, we will again conduct drives, and if formalin is still found, we will punish them under the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The original sellers will be contacted through the cash memos. Also, we will request the local sellers not to increase fish prices during this period,” said an official of the Food Safety Department.

The government is, however, reluctant to stop procurement of fish for a long time as a large number of people might be affected by such a step. The official, however, said if any fish seller is found using formalin for preservation of fish in future will be arrested and sent to jail for a minimum period of two years and maximum of seven years. The accused will also have to pay fine to the tune of Rs 10 lakh.

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Tests confirm no formalin in Chennai fish: Fisheries minister

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Fisheries minister D Jayakumar on Friday refuted reports that fish sold in Chennai contain the cancer-causing chemical formalin.

The minister told reporters that tests by Tamil Nadu Fisheries University and the food safety department had ruled out the presence of formalin — illegally used as a preservative — in fish samples collected at random from landing centres, fish markets and harbours in Chennai and surrounding areas.

Jayakumar was attempting to counter a public scare over accounts of fish laced with the chemical showing up in markets in Chennai and elsewhere in the state.

“People can test samples in private institutes if they are not confident of the tests by officials,” he said, adding that the government was taking measures to ensure that only chemical-free fish is available for sale in the state.

“Middlemen transporting fish from neighbouring states may have engaged in such practices,” the minister said in response to a question on traces of formalin in samples from Chintadripet. State food safety officials have been conducting tests of fish samples over the past fortnight on an alert from Kerala on seizure of a consignment of formalin-laced fish.

Jayakumar said the use of illegal preservatives like formalin would attract stern action. Noting that the formalin scare had caused fish sales to plunge, directly affecting fishermen, he appealed to people not to allow rumours to sway them. “Why would fishermen want to risk their livelihood by adopting such practices?” he said.

“Fishermen have mechanized boats with cold storage facilities to keep fish fresh for 10 to 15 days and transporters use refrigerated trucks,” he said. “There is no need to use formalin because the demand for fish is high.”

Mortuaries use formalin, derived from formaldehyde, to preserve bodies. Fish wholesalers sometimes illegally use it as a preservative, especially while transporting it to other states.

Formalin is commonly used to preserve bodies and prevent its decay in. Fish traders sometimes illegally use it as a preservative.

Officials of the food safety and fisheries departments had earlier in the week conducted checks in fish markets in Kasimedu, Chintadripet and Saidapet. None of 24 samples they tested with rapid-detection kits were chemically contaminated.

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Fish samples in Wokha test positive for formalin

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Officials destroying formalin contaminated fish in Wokha on July 13.

Investigation for source of formalin contamination in the district underway

Wokha, July 14 (MExN): A random sampling test of formalin content in fishes in and around Wokha district was conducted on July 13 by representatives of Food Safety Nagaland let by Khrukutolu Veswuh, Food Analyst State Public Health Laboratory from Kohima comprising of five members team, Food security Officer Wokha, Pelerienuo Kehie, Dy.Chief Medical Officer Wokha, Dr. Zuben Kikon, Media officer (CMO) office Wokha and EAC HQ, Tumpen P Tsanglao.

DIPR reported in a news item that out of the six samples, one tested positive for presence of formalin which was collected from in and around Wokha district from various fish kiosks. Earlier samples taken from the same area tested positive as per report from received from the State Public Health Laboratory. The contaminated fishes were seized for destruction.

The team also visited Doyang the same day to collect samples from the fish depots. At Doyang six species of fishes were tested from the local fish storage where freezers containing ice were also tested but found to be negative. Investigation for source of formalin contamination in the district is underway by the concerned authority.

Further, the concerned authority informed that if fish vendors want to sell fishes they are directed to obtain clearance certificates from the FSO Wokha.

Around 14 KGs of contaminated fishes tested positive were destroyed the same day in presence of officials present District Administration, representatives of Food Safety Nagaland, Dy.Chief Medical Officer Wokha, Media officer (CMO) office Wokha.

All fish imported or local, which is treated with formalin is banned in Wokha district as per the standing prohibitory order issue by Food Safety commissioner cum Commissioner &Secretary Nagaland, I.Himato Zhimomi IFS. Further the concerned department informed that random spot testing will be carried out in the district and defaulters will be penalized and legal course of action will be taken as per the provision under Food Safety and standards Act, 2006.

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Only formalin-free fish can be sold, says FSC

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Food Safety Commissioner (FSC), Himato Zhimomi, Saturday said the department had only banned those fish containing toxic chemical (formalin) and that any fish without formalin was allowed to be sold in the market.

The food safety commissioner told Nagaland Post that the ban on imported fish would be lifted any time once the fish was found without formalin.

Zhimomi said that no one has arrested so far in connection with sale of formalin-laced fish, but added that he was in contact with counterparts in Andhra Pradesh and Assam from where the fish is imported.

He informed that Andhra Pradesh government was in the process of forming a committee to probe the case. The commissioner, however, said that even if formalin-free certification is issued in Andhra Pradesh, the same would do tested in Nagaland since foul play could happen during transportation and storage.

When asked if there was any provision to compensate the fish traders since most of them claim to be innocent and made huge loss, commissioner said there was no question of compensating them as they were equally wrong and liable to be punished with fine and imprisonment. However, since this was the first case in the state, he said the government was lenient this time. He said the Centre was very serious about food adulteration, adding that under the Food Safety Act, food adulterators were liable to life imprisonment.

The commissioner also warned local fish sellers that they were liable to be punished under the Act if found selling formalin-laced fish. He suggested that fish sellers should upgrade their system with cold storage and maintain proper hygiene.

Zhimomi said that the department was doing its job for the safety of everybody and to ensure that no consumer was cheated with harmful chemical. In this regard, the commissioner has sought the cooperation of the public and traders to effectively check the harmful practices.

Formalin in fish detected in Wka

Food safety team conducted random sampling test of formalin content in fishes from various fish kiosk in and around Wokha district on July 13, 2018 and out of the six samples collected, one tested positive for presence of formalin.

Five-member food safety team led by State Public Health Laboratory (SPHL) food analyst, Khrukutolu Veswuh, comprised of food security officer Wokha, Pelerienuo Kehie, deputy chief medical officer Wokha, Dr.Zuben Kikon, media officer (CMO) office Wokha and EAC HQ, Tumpen P Tsanglao.

According to an official bulletin, earlier samples taken from the same area also tested positive as per report from received from the SPHL. It stated that the contaminated fishes were seized for destruction.

On the same day, the team also visited Doyang to collect samples from the fish depots.

At Doyang, six species of fishes were tested from the local fish storage where freezers containing ice were also tested but found to be negative.

The responsible authority is currently investigating the source of formalin contamination in the district, it stated.

Further, the authority has directed fish vendors to obtain clearance certificates from the FSO Wokha if they wished to sell fish.

Around 14kg contaminated fishes tested positive were destroyed the same day in presence of officials.

All fish, imported or local, treated with formalin, has been banned in Wokha district as per the standing prohibitory order issued by Food Safety commissioner.

Further, the department has informed that random spot testing would be carried out in the district and defaulters would be penalized and legal course of action would be taken as per the provision under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

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350kg banned tobacco products seized from warehouse in city

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Coimbatore: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) officials on Saturday seized about 350kg banned tobacco products worth about Rs 2lakh form a warehouse in the city.

Shortly after seizing about 250kg banned tobacco products from a warehouse on Thomas Street on Friday, the officials had found a small warehouse in the residential area, FSSAI designated officer B Vijayalalithambigai said. “As its owner did not turn up till night, we sealed the warehouse with the help of police. We opened it on Saturday morning in presence of the owner and found about 350kg banned tobacco products,” she said.

“We have sent the sample to laboratories in Madurai. We will file a case after receiving reports from the laboratory.”

In a series of raids since January, the FSSAI officials have seized over five tons of banned tobacco products worth several crores of rupees

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