The method employed by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to check the imported fish for chemicals does not guarantee that the entire fish in the trucks is safe for consumption, according to sources in the transport department.
The FDA inspection teams at the check-posts in North and South Goa undertake a random sampling of fish from few containers at the front portion of the trucks leaving the other containers from the middle and the back portions without any check. With no labourers available with the FDA teams at the check-posts to lift the fish containers, FDA fails to check samples from the remaining fish containers.
The transport department feels the FDA checks are flawed because the teams certify the entire fish consignments as fit for consumption without checking fish samples from the middle and rear portions of the storage containers.
The transport department officials also pointed out that these truck drivers, in connivance with local wholesalers, can take other routes to reach at the Margao wholesale market in order to avoid the FDA checks.
The transport department officials have suggested checking the fish-carrying trucks at the wholesale market instead of checking them at the check-posts for ease of undertaking a proper check for formalin and ammonia contamination in fish.
“The fish is finally unloaded at the wholesale market and ready for delivery where the FDA officials can perform quality checks, weighing, sorting, before and after auctions and all the information about the fish import can be recorded,” a transport official said.
The transport department official said that the department can only seize the vehicles if the carcinogenic substance used to preserve fish is found in the samples.