PANAJI: Health minister on Monday said he has recommended random inspections for presence of in instead of the daily checks being conducted at present.
“I think random checks will prove more effective,” Rane said, adding that the proposal has been sent to chief minister Manohar Parrikar for approval.
Rane, who was addressing a press conference, said the directorate of food and drugs administration () — which has been conducting regular checks for presence of the preservative since the import ban on fish was lifted on the midnight of August 3 — is also loaded with other work.
To be able to continue conducting regular checks, they would need a separate department, Rane said. The checks will be conducted anywhere as against the present inspection being carried out only at the border. The minister’s statement comes amid claims by activists that formalin-laced fish still percolates into the state.
Fisheries minister Vinod Palyekar had said that a joint team of the department of fisheries and the directorate of food and drugs would be deputed at the state’s borders to check fish consignments. However, nothing came out of it after the fisheries department said that checking fish was not their duty.
Rane said he will not be responding to claims made by self-made experts and scientists over the formalin in fish controversy. He said the directorate has been following Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) guidelines and using ICAR-CIFT kits to detect the chemical’s presence in fish.
Responding to a question, Rane said his ministry has received a memorandum from traders seeking extension to register with the FDA, which has been forwarded to the government.
The formalin in fish controversy erupted mid-July, four to five days before the commencement of the monsoon session of the assembly. In the face of the public outcry at the time, Parrikar had announced a 15-day ban on import of fish from neighbouring states.
While lifting the ban on fish import, the government had issued circular asking fish traders to register with the FDA with 15 days from August 2.
The health minister said an extension can be granted, but traders will not be exempted from registering themselves with the FDA.
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