Kochi

Food authority drive against lacing of fish with chemicals

Crackdown: The authorities have brought major markets and fishing harbours under observation to check the practice of using chemicals to preserve fish.

Crackdown: The authorities have brought major markets and fishing harbours under observation to check the practice of using chemicals to preserve fish.  

Unscrupulous elements resort to malpractice as supplies dry up

The Food Safety and Standards Authority is set to step up operations against the use of harmful chemicals to preserve fish. The monsoon trawling ban comes into effect on Wednesday midnight and the ban period is associated with comparatively less supply of fish in the market, prompting unscrupulous elements to resort to the use of harmful chemicals as fish prices have shot up in the wake of the lockdown.

A senior official of the Food Safety Authority said on Monday that nine tonnes of fish, found to contain harmful chemicals or stale, were seized and destroyed during the last two months in Ernakulam district. Operations by the authority officials had continued at different places in the district in the wake of complaints. Major markets and fishing harbours were under observation. In case of particular complaints even small outlets would be targets of inspection, said the official.

The clarification came amidst allegations from local fishermen that the government was turning a blind eye to the practice of selling adulterated fish in the open market.

There is considerable concern among the fishermen’s community that fish from other States would be used to fill the demand-supply gap as the trawling ban comes into effect for two months.

The National Fish Workers’ Forum leader, T. Peter, alleged that there was some laxity on the part of the authorities in keeping a vigil over the retail fish market. The charges have been denied by the authorities who said they were aware of the situation and vigilant against malpractices.

Prices down

Meanwhile, the price of fish has cooled considerably over the past fortnight after the lockdown restrictions were eased on fishing activities. The price of oil sardines came down to about ₹170 a kg on Monday from ₹280 a week ago, said M.S. Jayan, a fish worker in Champakkara.

Matsyafed sources said that its outlets were not procuring sardines as no local supplies were available. Indian mackerels sold for ₹360 a kg on Monday while tunny varieties were selling for between ₹260 and ₹300 a kg in the retail market in Ernakulam. Shrimp varieties sold for ₹430 to ₹500 while trevally sold for ₹440 a kg.

Local favourites such as pearspot was dearer and sold for ₹450 to ₹500 a kg. Smaller seer fish weighing about 1 kg sold for ₹480.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 7:47:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/food-authority-drive-against-lacing-of-fish-with-chemicals/article31782767.ece

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