No end to the formalin fish saga

No end to the formalin fish saga

Imlisanen Jamir

There seems to be no end to the formalin laced fish saga. It just keeps on taking twists and turns, meandering along and arriving at no conclusion.

Last summer and fall, there was a complete ban on imported fish in the state as formalin was detected in consignments of fish being sold in Nagaland’s markets and other parts of the country. The ban was imposed in June 2018 and lifted it in October 2018 with instructions to fish vendors to get samples analysed by state authorities. Preceding this, the food safety authorities of the state government had embarked on a wide scale disposal of fish laced with the chemical.

The storm seemed to have passed though later in the year as subsequent consignment shipments were deemed clean and fish supply was steadily resumed.

However recently in February of this year, reports of fish samples testing positive for formalin have been pouring in from across the state, with several district authorities scrambling to destroy a huge amount of formalin laced fish.

As of now the re-emergence of formalin laced fish has been reported from five districts. The first of the recent seizures was in Kohima on February 23 when 1700 kilograms of tainted fish was seized. In Dimapur, 200 kilograms of fish were destroyed last Wednesday Wednesday after samples tested positive.

There were similar reports from Wokha, Zunheboto and Mokokchung as well, with the latter imposing a ban on fish imports.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner of Dimapur has called for a meeting to discuss the issue, with the state’s Health Minister addressing the gathering.

How long will this continue? Haphazard import bandhs do nothing unless there is a there is a long term tangible solution to the issue. There has to be clarity on the formalin in fish issue. Consumers will never have peace of mind until people here learn the entire truth behind the formalin in fish issue and all is made clear.

It was reported that all samples which tested positive for formalin were imported from Andhra Pradesh. And if as touted by state agencies, the culprits for lacing fish with the chemical are at the place of origin, surely the state government can do more to exert some pressure on those responsible beyond Nagaland.

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