Rejecting the allegations that fishes from Andhra contain formalin (a toxic chemical substance) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday requested his counterpart in Bihar Nitish Kumar to revoke the ban on the sale and transportation of fishes from the state.
Naidu in his letter to Nitish Kumar stated, "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."
Formalin is a cancer-inducing chemical, used to preserve the fish and also used in preserving dead bodies. 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, there surprise tests found no cases of formalin or ammonia in fishes, he stated.
Naidu also listed out other measures taken by the Andhra government in light of the allegations. This includes setting up District Level Task Force and State Level Technical and Monitoring teams consisting of Multi-disciplinary departments for ensuring the quality of fish supplies to other states. Following a meeting with all stakeholders, there was also a suggestion of inviting officers from Bihar for random and surprise inspections.
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 wrote.
Last week, the Bihar government banned sale, transportation and storage of fish for 15 days, after the officials confirmed presence of excess formalin in the fishes imported from Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
According to reports, the Central Food Laboratory, Kolkata also confirmed the presence of other minerals like lead, cadmium and mercury beyond permissible limits and found them "unsafe" for human consumption.