PANAJI: Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, on Friday, said that Iva Fernandes, the designated officer of the Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), who had led the team that raided wholesale fish market at Margao on Thursday was not authorised to disclose spot analysis report to media and stop the sale of fish.
Speaking to the media on Friday at Porvorim, Rane said that the job of that lady officer was to fetch the samples of fish to Food and Drugs Administration department.
“We have not given her power to tell about the report of spot test to press and to stop sale of fish. It was our mistake, which will not be repeated again,” said the Health Minister.
The Minister also informed that he has asked the director of FDA to submit detailed report of the episode that happened on Thursday, and added that the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, is also monitoring the situation.
He admitted that there was an ongoing debate among the people on how the spot test was positive for formalin in fish and further test report at the FDA laboratory revealed the content to be within permissible limit.
“Everyone knows my integrity as Health Minister. I will not allow anybody to play with the life of the people. At the moment there is no reason to panic on fish issue. We will ensure that fish beyond permissible limit of formalin is not sold,” he added.
The Health Minister further pointed out that there are articles published by some newspapers that Food Safety Organisation had sent a letter to FDA, upon which the department took the action.
He assured that the government has been keeping a watch on the situation to ensure that fish containing certain level of formalin will not be sold in market.
“Let us not panic as generally there is inherent formalin in fish. You can check on Google whether it is there or not. Some states have banned the sale of fish as it was found that formalin was used to preserve the fish,” he said.
The Health Minister said that the government is monitoring the situation as there are cases of southern states using formalin to increase the shelf life of the fish.