Andhra fish bone of contention for Biha

Bihar health department not banning fish from Andhra, will collect more samples to test for formalin

By Sanjeev Kumar Verma in Patna
  • Published 11.10.18, 12:11 AM
  • Updated 11.10.18, 12:11 AM
  • a min read
Fish market in Patna File picture

The health department is treading cautiously when it comes to banning fish from Andhra Pradesh in the markets of Bihar. The department has decided to collect the fish samples afresh and get them tested at the laboratory before taking any stand on the issue.

The development assumes significance because the animal and fisheries resources department had recently alerted the health department about presence of formalin in the fish coming from the southern state. The chemical, which is carcinogenic, is used for increasing the shelf life of fish.

Sources in the health department said any decision on banning the item would be taken only after sample collections from all the places where these fish come from and sending them to the laboratory.

“There are norms and well-defined protocol for collecting the samples as well as getting them tested at designated laboratories,” said an official with the health department, adding that if these norms are not followed those involved in Andhra Pradesh fish trade might move court challenging the department’s decision.

State health minister Mangal Pandey said: “Our field officials would soon complete the sampling collection work after which these would be sent for laboratory testing. The department would take further steps in accordance with the outcome of laboratory test.”

The state fisheries directorate has decided to continue its awareness drive to inform consumers about the possible threat from fish coming from Andhra Pradesh. “We too had collected samples and one of them had been sent to the food testing laboratory in Calcutta. The test report confirmed the presence of formalin and hence we informed the health department, which is authorised to ban any edible item, and also continued our awareness drive,” a senior official with the directorate said.