Fish merchants in Kerala deny selling non-edible fish

Association appeals to Kerala government to change its ‘attitude’ to the community

Updated - May 09, 2022 08:23 pm IST

Published - May 09, 2022 05:59 pm IST - KOCHI

The All Kerala Fish Merchants’ and Commission Agencies’ Association, representing fish merchants and retailers, has appealed to the Kerala government to change its “attitude” to the community of fish sellers and merchants in the wake of what the association alleged was harassment of the community following “isolated” incidents of seizure of non-edible fish.

State chairman of the association C. M. Shafi said fishermen in Kerala were able to realise fair price for their catch because of the “competitive nature” of fish sellers and merchants. However, fish merchants have been portrayed as exploitative in the past, he alleged.

But the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has denied harassment of any fish merchants, maintaining that routine checks on food items are conducted. Alex K. Isaac, assistant commissioner of the FSSAI for Ernakulam and Kottayam districts, said adulteration of fish using formalin and ammonia have been detected rarely in the districts. The recent inspections in the Vypeen area by the mobile test squad found no instance of use of formalin and ammonia, he added.

A key issue regarding fish is that on many occasions, it is not preserved properly using the desired quantity of ice, the official pointed out.

There were reports in the media about the seizure of around 200 kg of stale fish in Kasaragod recently.

Fish merchants and commission agents have said they had assured the then Health Minister in 2016 that only good-quality fish would be sold in the market. However, they had faced situations which threatened the entire trade in the name of isolated incidents in the past, they said.

Action plan

The association is convening a meeting of fish merchants and sellers at Chavakkad in Thrissur district on May 11 to draw up an action plan for protest with a view to protect the business, Mr. Shafi added.

Meanwhile, the FSSAI squads have continued intensive checks on hotels and eateries. Two squads, one based in Koothattukulam and another based in the Aluva-Kalamassery areas in Ernakulam district have been in the field regularly for the inspections, the FSSAI official added.

The FSSAI authorities seized and destroyed 45 kg of stale fish from different hotels in Ernakulam district on Monday. The food safety authorities also conducted 30 inspections, served eight rectification notices to hotels, two compounding notices for imposing fine and six notices for converting older licenses into registration under the FSSAI.

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