Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland had imposed a formal ban on fish imported from Andhra Pradesh after traces of formalin, a chemical substance used to preserve dead fish, were found.

Naidu writes letter to CMs of north-eastern states to restore good fish relations
news Controversy Friday, July 27, 2018 - 19:00

Amid reports about the presence of formalin in fish coming into the north-eastern states from Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu in a letter to the Chief Ministers of Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland has called the allegations an attempt to defame the state's brand in fish business and discourage exports from the state. Naidu requested support to ascertain genuineness of allegations and urges the states to continue accepting fish supplies from AP.

Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland had imposed a formal ban on fish imported from Andhra Pradesh after traces of formalin, a chemical substance used to preserve dead fish, were found in the fish imports from the state last month. Soon after the news broke, fish traders and suppliers in AP alleged that the local fish traders of the north-eastern states were spreading rumours of adulterated fish in order to drastically increase the price of locally sourced fish.

In a letter addressed to the CMs of the three states, Chandrababu Naidu said the fish traders in AP have strongly denied the allegations and have requested the state to intervene to restore the good relations between the states.

In an effort to avoid any further allegations, the AP government has assured quality checks at all levels right from farmers, traders, transporters up to the border point of each state.

The letter also states that surprise raids have been conducted at packing sheds, distribution sheds and retail fish outlets in AP, but no traces of formalin or ammonia have been reported so far.

The state has also commenced issuing a ‘Fish Quality Testing Certificate’ to the consignments of fish exported to other states.

State fisheries authorities will also visit the north-eastern states on Friday in order to sensitise the local state fisheries officials about the steps taken by the AP government to improve the quality of fish exported to other states.

The entire issue came to light on June 24, when over 6,000 kg of fish was seized at a state border checkpost at Walayar in Palakkad in Kerala. The seized fish, prawn and shrimp being brought in from Andhra Pradesh, were found to be laced with formalin, a carcinogenic substance.

Formalin is often used to preserve fish, which is an easily perishable food whose value depends on its freshness. And when fish is imported from another state, to prevent rot during transport, fish traders resort to using formalin. The only way to know for certain if a fish has been contaminated is to send it to a lab for testing.

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