Officials justify release of contaminated fish stock

Hit hard: The scare created by formalin-laced fish has impacted fish trade in the city. A view from the Nadakkvu market where a trader readies his stock.

Hit hard: The scare created by formalin-laced fish has impacted fish trade in the city. A view from the Nadakkvu market where a trader readies his stock.   | Photo Credit: S_RAMESHKURUP

Consignment not meant for retail in Kerala, they say

Officials of the Food Safety Department on Monday clarified that a truckload of squid they had intercepted at Vadakara on Saturday after confirming the presence of formalin in it, was released, as the stock was not meant for retail in Kerala.

The vehicle was heading to an exporting unit at Mangaluru from Kanyakumari, and food safety officials in Kerala are not authorised to act against inter-State shipping of products between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, they said, adding that the allegation of “inaction” on the part of the squad was baseless.

Defending the decision, an officer in charge of the squads said that the team had ensured that the stock was not unloaded in any part of Kerala en route to Mangaluru.

Authorities alerted

There was a mild presence of formalin in the stock, and the details were communicated to the authorities concerned in Mangaluru for action, the officer added.

Noticing the vehicle near the Mooradu bridge, some locals had alerted the police and food safety squads. Though the driver and the cleaner had claimed that the stock was not meant for delivery in Kerala, the protesters were unwilling to relent and demanded that the authorities destroy the stock.

The squad members said that the vehicle had been released after consulting senior officials at the Commissionerate of Food Safety. The only instruction was to ensure that the stock was delivered at the mentioned spot, they claimed.

Better surveillance

A senior Food Safety Department official said that the checking squads in Kerala had limitations in seizing stocks during transit between two States. “We will be able to prevent such practices effectively only by strengthening the surveillance mechanism and the mobile squads on the State’s borders,” he added.

Meanwhile, he confirmed that contaminated stocks meant for resale in local markets would be instantly seized and buried. “We had impounded nearly 5,000 kg of such stock at Vadakara and buried it at once, taking public safety into account,” he said.

The squads in Kozhikode circle said that no large-scale trade in formalin-laced fish had been confirmed in any local market in Kozhikode city. Only a small quantity was recently seized from the Central market, and samples were sent to laboratories for final inspection, officials said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 2:13:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/officials-justify-release-of-contaminated-fish-stock/article24498388.ece

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