6,000 kg of fish preserved in toxic chemical seized at Walayar in Kerala

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6,000 kg of fish preserved in toxic chemical seized at Walayar in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: In a major haul, 6,000 kg of fish, preserved in toxic chemical Formalin, was seized at the border check post of Walayar in northern Palakkad district on Sunday.

The state Food Safety department officials foiled the attempt to ferry the chemical-mixed fish from Andhra Pradesh during a raid carried out as part of the ‘Operation Sagar Rani,’ a drive launched to ensure safety and hygiene at fish handling and distribution centres.

As many as 6000 kg of prawns, brought in 45 lorries, was found mixed with Formalin, officials said.

Last week, 12,000 kg of toxic fish, containing Formalin, was confiscated during raids in the state.

Formalin is used to preserve dead bodies and prevent its decay in mortuaries.

The widespread use of the deadly chemical nowadays in the preservation of fish, fruit and other food items is posing a great threat to public health.

According to Food Safety official, the presence of Formalin was detected during the preliminary examination carried out using paper strips, developed by the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology.

Later, the complete fish load was sent to the chemical laboratory in Ernakulam district for further examination, they said.

A 15-member-team of Food Safety officials from Kozhikode, Ernakulam and Palakkad, led by joint food safety commissioner, carried out the raid.

The Food Safety Department recently intensified raids at the border check posts, with a special focus on fish stock arriving from other states, following a directive from the Health Minister K K Shailaja in this regard.

The minister had warned of stringent legal action against those who bring or sell chemically contaminated fish.

The officials had seized a total of 12,000 kg of toxic fish, in two different raids in the state, last week.

Of this, 6000 kg of fish, mixed with Formalin, was confiscated from Amaravila check post near here, while the rest was taken into custody from Walayar, they said.

In view of the frequent seizure of chemically contaminated fish, state Food Safety Commissioner, M G Rajamanickam issued orders to expand raids to local markets to detect chemical presence in fish.

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