Panaji: Adding to the raging controversy over formalin-laced fish being sold in Goa, Nationalist Congress Party MLA and former Chief Minister Churchill Alemao on Monday urged Goans to boycott eating fish during the monsoon months, claiming the fish imported into the state from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh were laced with formalin.
“A lot of formalin-laced fish has been already stored in Goa in cold storage facilities. For the months of June and July do not eat fish. It is a personal request. The fish being sold in Goa is laced with formalin,” Alemao told a press conference in Margao town, located 35 km south of Panaji.
Alemao also said, that most of the fish imported into Goa is from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, where there are few cold chain facilities, as a result of which the product is sprayed with formalin before being sent to Goa, which takes around 48 hours by road.
“It is cheaper for them to spray formalin than to keep changing ice every few hours…” Alemao said, while warning locals against eating fish because of the carcinogenic qualities of formalin, or formaldehyde – a chemical used primarily in morgues to preserve cadavers.
Citing a laboratory report, the Congress party alleged last week that formalin use to preserve fish was rampant in Goa, and urged the BJP-led coalition government to increase efforts to rein in the menace.
State Health Minister Vishwajit Rane has, however, rubbished the allegations, claiming that all fish coming into the state from neighbouring areas was being scanned for use of formalin by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) teams.
The controversy involving use of formalin in fish erupted in July last year, after an FDA team found traces of formalin in fish being sold in a South Goa fish market during a raid.
The state government had earlier said that efforts would be taken to check the fish imported into the state from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, but the oppposition claims that very little has actually been done.