Claiming that the testing, for adulterants in fish, carried out by the Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) using the kits developed by the ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) was faulty, Sanjeev Raiturkar, an activist, on Saturday, demanded with the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to let the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to do the testing of the fish at the border check posts.
Raiturkar also pointed out that the CIFT kits do not bear the ISI mark.
“I am giving 24 hours to the Chief Minister to hand over the duty of checking quality of the fish to FSSAI or else I will move the High Court on Monday. FSSAI should be brought into picture, and they must check samples randomly, especially, at the points where imported fish are unloaded in Goa,” he said while addressing a press conference in Panaji.
He demonstrated the fish testing method adopted by the FDA for detecting formalin, wherein he applied solutions with 3 ppm, 4 ppm and 5 ppm of formaldehyde on three fish samples, and using the paper strips given in the CIFT kit swabbed the three samples and then applied a solution provided in the kit on them, however, the colour of the strips didn’t change even after two minutes, it only changed after three minutes, and ‘showed’ the presence of formalin.
“As per the instructions given by the CIFT, the results found after two minutes are invalid, and cannot be considered positive for formalin even if the paper strip changes colour and shows that the fish tested are unsafe for human consumption,” he said.
“Within two minutes the colour should have changed but it changed only after three minutes, which is not valid and FDA doesn’t consider these results. This method, followed by FDA, is ineffective,” he said adding that it was just an eyewash and alleged that “FDA director Jyoti Sardesai was least bothered about the health of Goans.”
He alleged that the Town Country and Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane were shielding the misdeeds of Jyoti Sardesai.
“FDA director is suppressing the truth about the ‘formalin in fish’ row, and she is being protected by the two ministers,” he said.
He challenged Sardesai and other FDA officials “for a live demonstration” of the similar test for the presence of formalin in the presence of media.
Meanwhile, the Health Minister rubbished the claims of Raiturkar, and said that the FDA test is based on the recommendations laid down by FSSAI.
‘’FDA is not maufacturing the kits. FSSAI has approved this particular kit and issued guidelines, and based on that we are using the kits to test the fish samples for adulterants,” Rane said added that any individuals having doubt about the kit may approach FSSAI with their grievance.
He informed that the government will soon stop regular checking of the fish samples at the state borders, and will only conduct random surprise checks.
Meanwhile, an FIR was registered by the Canacona police on August 8 against an unknown person for allegedly obstructing government officers (FDA officers) from doing their duty at Pollem check post, following the complaint filed by food safety officer Rajaram Patil.
It is alleged that Sanjeev Raiturkar had visited Pollem check post with electronic media and questioned the FDA officials over the procedure adopted by them to test the fish samples.
Patil has given in writing that he has identified Raiturkar, and a charge-sheet is likely to be filed against him by next week.