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Friday, 14 December, 2018

...Hours later, claims it’s ‘within permissible limits’; confusion and panic grip Goans

13th July 2018, 02:05 Hrs

PANAJI: The mysterious U-turn by the Food and Drugs Administration which first said preliminary tests had found traces of formalin in the fish samples but later claimed that “quantitative analysis” in its laboratory had found all these samples within “permissible limits” has further stoked a wave of panic and confusion among Goa’s fish-eating populace.   

FDA said spot analysis by the Chemist, of the samples of commonly consumed fish such as Pedi, Mackarels, Tarli, Gobro, Savnale, Tisryo, Muddoshi, White Pomfret, Verli & Prawns had tested positive for formaldehyde.   

However, the FDA statement claims that later, when all these samples were brought to its Bambolim laboratory and quantitative tests were done, the results obtained “are found within permissible limits.” The FDA also said that the fish stocks are certified safe to consume.   

Interestingly, even before the FDA could formally announce the results of its findings, TCP Minister Vijai Sardessai tweeted on the issue saying there was no need to panic and that the fish was safe to eat, quoting the FDA.   

Sardessai later deleted the tweet but screenshots of it were circulating on social media platforms and networks.   

Meanwhile, experts in the fisheries industry have rubbished the FDA claim that the fish samples, first found positive for formaldehyde were after detailed quantitative tests later found to be within ‘permissible limits’.   

Meanwhile, the very mention of ‘Formalin’ having been detected in the fish samples tested by the FDA added to the panic among Goa’s fish-eating folks. For, the chemical is widely known to be commonly used for preserving dead human and animal bodies.   

“There is no question of any ‘permissible limit’ in the standards prescribed by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India. The law does not provide for use of ‘Formalin’ for storage,” a veteran in the fisheries industry told the Goan.   

He however did not want to be identified fearing his operations will face a backlash and he could be targeted by the FDA and the government.   

Efforts to contact FDA Director Jyoti Sardessai for a clarification also failed as she did not respond to several calls made to her officially listed cell phone.   

Meanwhile, the FSSAI has called for the details of the formalin contamination in fish. FDA in their statement confirmed that they had received an e-mail communication from the FSSAI seeking the reports.