Meghalaya :Fish traders back in business as Government lifts import ban

Shillong (Meghalaya) , Aug 24 :Fish traders today resumed full scale business across Meghalaya, a day after a 30-day ban on fish import was lifted by the state government.

The food safety authorities had enforced a ban on sale, storage and distribution of fish from Assam, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal following detection of formalin in imported samples.

Formalin, a toxic solution of formaldehyde, is chiefly used to preserve biological specimens.

The prohibition was initially imposed for 15 days on July 23, but was later extended till August 22 in view of the “fear psychosis” among the consumers, Food Safety Deputy Commissioner S N Sangma said.

“The government has decided not to extend the ban any longer but would keep a close eye on the quality of products being sold to the consumers,” Sangma said.

Of the 92 samples tested at a Assam-based laboratory before July 23, 12 tested positive for formalin, Food Safety Commissioner P W Ingty said.

“The government will take a stricter call on the matter in case of fresh detection of unsafe chemicals in fish in the days to come,” he said.

Welcoming the state government’s decision to lift the ban, Khasi Jaintia Wholesaler and Retailer Association (KJFWRA) president Mitchel Wankhar said they would abide by the strictures of food safety authorities.

“We do not want to put the health of fish-eaters at risk. All traders here have decided to go by the strictures of the food safety authorities,” Wankhar said.

Meghalaya Fisheries Minister Comingone Ymbon had earlier said that the state imports about 21,000 MT fish, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam.

“The state produces about 12,330 MT during fiscal 2016-17, while the total requirement stands at 33,000 MT annually,” he had said. (PTI)

Images : Representational

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