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Congress asks Goans to avoid eating fish till govt comes clean on ‘formalin in fish’ row

Panaji: The Congress party, on Monday, asked the Goans to avoid eating fish till the government comes clean on the ongoing ‘formalin-in-fish’ row.

The party urged the people not to ‘trust’ FDA’s reports over the fish samples drawn from Margao, and Panaji fish markets last week as they were ‘confusing’.

The samples which were tested on the spot and found to be positive for formalin, later on, on the same day were found to be having formalin within the ‘permissible limit’ by the FDA, and the authority declared it to be safe for human consumption, the party said.

“We will create awareness among the fish lovers in the state not to eat fish unless and until the state government comes out with clear facts and figures with regard to the test conducted by FDA to detect formalin in fish,” said Velim MLA Filip Neri Rodrigues speaking to the media at the FDA office, Bambolim.

He said that the government and the FDA have failed to give a convincing explanation on the formalin in fish issue.“We are apprehensive of the fish coming from outside the state. We guarantee that Goans are not adding formalin as a preservative to fish,” Rodrigues said. Earlier in the day, a delegation of the Congress party led by its five MLAs approached the FDA director Jyoti Sardesai seeking clarification as to how FDA arrived at two different results when the tests were conducted on the same samples.

Interestingly, neither the party president Girish Chodankar nor Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar was a part of the delegation.

Cuncolim MLA Clafasio Dias said that there must have been a political pressure on director of FDA not to disclose the authentic report.

Santa Cruz MLA Antonio Fernandes demanded that FDA’s food safety officers should be sent to Kerala-based Central Institute of Fisheries Technology for training in testing food including fish.

Stephen Dias, a retired scientist of National Institute of Oceanography, claimed that the FDA didn’t have the required facility to test formalin in fish during the tenure of Salim Veljee, the previous director of the FDA.

He informed that NIO had provided required training to the FDA officials in detecting formalin in fish.

He asked Jyoti Sardesai to give in writing the method adopted by her team when they carried out tests on the fish samples at FDA laboratory.

Sardesai responded saying that she would put his demand before the government and reply as directed by the government.

The Congress delegation said that they were not convinced with the reply of the director on the formalin in fish issue and added that they will raise the issue during the monsoon session of the Assembly, which is scheduled to begin on July 19. [NT]

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