New Delhi: Cuttack MP Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD) Wednesday urged the Union government to provide scientific clarification on fish consumption in view of confusion created by a series of news reports indicating presence of formaldehyde in freshwater and sea fish.
He wanted the Centre to consider taking urgent steps to announce what is safe and unsafe with regard to consumption of fish as it is being contaminated with formaldehyde. He also called for labelling the fish accordingly.
Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, Mahtab said, “In June this year, the Kerala government found formaldehyde laced fish being transported to the state, soon after a study revealed presence of around five to 20 types of chemicals in the freshwater and marine fish in areas of Chennai.”
He also said that Goa also reported similar findings of presence of around five to 20 DPM of chemical in freshwater and marine fish. However, Food and Drug Administration of Goa later said the labels in Goan sample were on par with naturally occurring formaldehyde in marine fish.
Mahtab told the House that this had triggered suspicion among consumers and they started accusing the government of playing down the health risk as the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had already banned formaldehyde in freshwater fish while the International Agency for Research on Cancer labelled the chemical a carcinogen in 2004.
“In Odisha also, adequate steps have been taken because most of the coastal states are taking steps. But the fish that is being imported from Europe and other parts contain this chemical which is hazardous to health and leads to cancer,” the parliamentarian said.
Asking the government to step in, Mahtab said, “Therefore, there is an urgent need to address the concerns of consumers scientifically over formaldehyde contamination of fish. I urge upon the government to take urgent steps to throw light on safe and unsafe consumption of fish in a transparent manner.”