SILCHAR: The authorities in the three districts of asked food inspectors on Thursday to initiate legal action against vendors selling laced with formalin, a carcinogenic substance often used as a preservative during transportation. On Wednesday, the state government had banned the import of fish for 10 days as some varieties had tested positive for formalin. The main suppliers of fish to are Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.
But vendors on Thursday protested against the sudden ban as it had led to a huge financial loss for them. “At least a week‘s time should have been given to the vendors before the ban. We already have a large stock of fish imported from other states and if we cannot sell them we will face unprecedented loss,” said wholesale fish market secretary Bhaskar Das.

He wondered why the government had woken up so late in the day to the hazards of consuming imported fish. “For the last four decades, fish has been coming from Andhra and Kanpur. All of a sudden, the government finds the fish unfit for human consumption,” he added.

But in reality, the ban on its second day had little impact on sale. All markets here were flush with ‘chalani‘ fish varieties. Despite the health hazards associated with the chemical substance, fish lovers were flocking to Fatak Bazaar, National Highway market and Tarapur market. “We are trying to clear our stock. If we can‘t sell them, we will suffer,” said a fish trader.

Legal action will be taken against vendors if found selling fish with preservatives under the provisions of the Food Safety Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations 2011. Hailakandi district magistrate Adil Khan asked circle officers to provide food inspectors with necessary logistics to enforce regulations.

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