Viral Facebook post catches fishy fish, preserved in formaldehyde, at Silchar

This fish is real fishy! A Facebook post by Silchar-resident Manna Barbhuiya highlighted the illegal and hazardous manner in which fish shipments are being imported in the southern Assam town.

Manna Barbhuiya, in his viral Facebook post, said that he observed neatly packed fish shipments – with airline cargo labels – without having any ice inside. Manna was suspicious as such transportation of fish from a distant place needs proper ice packaging. While Manna waited for the shipments to be unpacked, he was surprised – and shocked – to see that formaldehyde was being used to preserve the fishes. “There was not even a single pinch of ice inside those packets. Moreover, some pungent smell was coming out of those packets. By that time I realised that those fish were preserved with #formaldehyde, a chemical usually used in laboratories to stop decomposition of dead bodies of humans and animals. But nowadays some unscrupulous traders use it as fish and vegetables preservatives, which is illegal and forbidden by all means,” he wrote on Facebook, along with posting two photographs of the shipment.

Manna added that the shipment was meant for a marriage party.

While the post has gone viral, the netizens tagged deputy commissioner Cachar for immediate action. “Joint director health will initiate an enquiry into this matter. We are taking the issue seriously,” the deputy commissioner replied on the post.

Further, acting on the information, the Facebook page of the District Administration Cachar uploaded photographs of fishery and food safety officials who visited the fish markets located at the national highway and Fatak Bazar in Silchar. “The district administration directed the concerned department to visit the national highway fish market and Fatak Bazar wholesale fish market jointly by the fishery officials and designated food safety officer to check the harmful preservatives like formaldehyde used in fishes. But today, such type of fishes are not found and the same time the fish traders are strictly instructed not to deal or sale of such type of fishes in future as the matter is concerned with human health. And the fish traders are also directed to keep certificate that will ensure that no any harmful preservatives are used in fishes. Inspection will be continued from this end,” the post read.

Although illegal preservatives weren’t found during the visit of the officials, Manna Barbhuiya’s viral post highlights the hazardous practice. Be vigilant next time you enter a fish market!

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