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Cancer Scare Hits India's Fish Market; States Bans Import

CC0 / / Fish
Fish - Sputnik International
Millions of Indians have stopped eating fish amid reports that high-level of cancer-causing formalin were traced in fish samples sourced from various coastal areas. Formalin is a chemical widely used to preserve bodies and prevent decay in mortuaries.

New Delhi (Sputnik): The southern Indian state of Goa has temporarily banned the import of fish amid fears of chemical contamination.

"The ban will continue till the end of this month when restrictions imposed on fishing along the western coast end," Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar said on Wednesday.

​Another coastal state West Bengal — the biggest consumer of fish, has launched a state-wide sample collection and monitoring of major fish markets.

The fear has gripped the masses to such extent that popular tourist hubs like Goa and Kerala reported a sharp fall in sale of sea-food. Similarly, fishermen in Odisha, West Bengal, Assam and Andhra Pradesh complained of not getting adequate price for their catch.  

​"Fish lovers have started to ditch the marine food after lab report confirmed the traces of cancer-causing formalin in fish samples on Friday.  The sale declined over 70 percent in the last two days. Now, we have decided to put a ban on the sale of marine fish for 10 days from today (Monday) to make up for the losses," Pratap, a trader at the Unit-IV fish market in Odisha told Sputnik. 

​Last week, the northeastern Indian state of Assam had banned the import of fish from other parts of the country due to the presence of the cancer-causing preservative in fish. The state health ministry issued a strict directive to traders warning that anyone violating the ban or found using formalin to preserve fish for the longer period would face punitive legal action with arrests and jail terms ranging from two to seven years and fines of up to INR 10 lakh (approximately $16000)

​In Kerala, the authorities had seized over 9600 kilograms of fish in the last week of June over concerns that they contained a dangerous level of formalin. 

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