MARGAO: The impact of Thursday’s raid by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on fish was visible at the state’s lone wholesale fish market at Fatorda in Margao, with only a few fish-laden trucks arriving at the market on Friday and a limited number of wholesalers present.
The FDA officials had on Thursday drawn fish samples from 17 vehicles that had arrived in Margao from different states. The samples, which were tested, were initially found to be positive for formalin. However, upon testing at the laboratory, FDA found that the chemical was within the permissible limit.
Sources said that the FDA raid had a considerable impact, as nearly 40 per cent of the regular fish consumers did not turn up at the SGPDA and wholesale fish markets on Friday to buy fish. The retailers, who purchased fish from the wholesalers to sell it at the SGPDA market had no takers. Many retail fish vendors were seen waiting for customers with their fish displayed in the market complex.
The scene in the village areas of Salcete taluka was no different with many fish vendors, who go round the interiors on bicycles or two-wheelers finding no takers for fish. Fish vendors of Raia, Loutolim, Davorlim, Assolna and Cuncolim also complained that there were no takers for fish. “People refused to buy fish from us today. They say it’s because of the poisonous chemical found in fish that is supplied to us,” a fish vendor at Davorlim said.
“Due to the fear created in the minds of fish eaters post the FDA raid, we saw less number of buyers at the wholesale fish market,” said a wholesale fish agent at the market on Friday morning. He blamed the media for blowing the issue out of proportion.
The SGPDA retail fish market wore a deserted look on Friday morning. “Even our regular fish buyers did not come today (Friday) because of the news that a chemical (formalin) is found in fish. We don’t apply anything to fish here,” a fish vendor R Vaz said. Talking to reporters, another fish vendor said that she suffered a loss of around Rs 15,000. She said that she had bought limited quantity of fish from the wholesale market.
Interestingly, despite no takers for fish, prices were not reduced by the vendors. “We have suffered losses today. Many did not come today and they were the wiser lot of fish vendors. We are unsure about tomorrow,” said a fish vendor. President of the retail fish vendors association Felix Gonsalves admitted that the SGPDA market witnessed a few visitors on Friday. “That was because of the FDA raid and the news about formalin being found in fish that is supplied to us,” he said.