The Bihar government on Wednesday lifted a ban in Patna on the sale, storage and transportation of fish from Andhra Pradesh. The announcement came after a 15-day period came to an end.
A final decision will be taken after a two-member team from Bihar, returns from Andhra Pradesh and submits its report, Bihar Principal Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar told reporters.
Earlier in January, the government banned fish from Andhra Pradesh in Patna after laboratory tests confirmed the presence of high content of formalin, a cancer-inducing chemical used in preserving fish. The ban came after the Central Food Laboratory, Kolkata stated that the presence of formalin, and minerals like lead, cadmium and mercury beyond permissible limits, found the fish "unsafe" for human consumption.
After Bihar banned the fish in Patna, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu urged his counterpart Nitish Kumar to take steps to restore the fish trade in the larger interest of farmers and all those engaged in fisheries.
"The aquaculture farmers and merchants are strongly denying the allegations that our fish traders are using formalin as a preservative for long shelf life. It is nothing but defaming the AP state fish supplies and ultimately to disturb the good fish trade relations between two states," Naidu wrote in his letter.
â€śFurther it is also suggested that quality checks for formalin may be taken up at the border of Bihar state to ensure the genuineness of the allegations made on fish exports of our state, for which our state government will depute a team of officers to carry out the quality check in the presence of your technical team,â€ť Naidu added.
He went on to assure the Bihar CM that the Department of Fisheries, Institute of Preventive Medicine along with other departments had carried out surprise raids on fish packing sheds and whole sale fish outlets and tested for formalin. However, their surprise tests found no cases of formalin or ammonia in fishes, he stated.