Guwahati: The Assam government on Wednesday banned import and sale of fish imported from Andhra Pradesh and other states for a period of 10 days following the presence of cancer causing chemical formalin content in the imported fish.
Minister of state for health and family welfare Pijush Hazarika told reporters that samples of fish imported from other states were collected on June 29, and sent for laboratory test.
“We have received the report now. The laboratory test has reveled the presence of formalin in the samples,” said Mr Hazarika who has launched massive drive to check the sale of adulterated food items in the state.
“Imports would be allowed only after it was found that they do not have any formalin content or the importers themselves give assurance that the practice of using the dangerous chemical to preserver the fish has been stopped,” he said.
The district magistrates and food safety officers have been asked to ensure such fish with formalin are not sold in the markets from Wednesday while the ban is in force, he said.
Anyone violating the ban or found using formalin to preserve the fish for longer period would face punitive legal action with arrests and jail terms ranging from two to seven years and fines of up to Rs 10 lakh, Mr Hazarika warned.
The samples were collected by the minister and his health department officials, for laboratory test following the reports of fish traders using formalin to preserve the fish.
Mr Hazarika clarified that the ban would be revoked only after conducting more lab tests.