Goa High Court asks FSSAI to submit report on standards for natural formalin in fish

The Goa High Court has asked the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to submit a report on specific standards regarding naturally-occurring formalin in fishes. The court has asked the apex food regulator to submit its report last month by November 28, 2019.

According to reports, it has directed FSSAI’s executive officer to remain present in the court if the order is not followed.

The court was hearing a PIL (public interest litigation) on the issue of formalin present in fish, which had become a major reason of concern in many parts of the country, including Goa, where a partial ban was imposed on fish imports due to the presence of formalin.

However, earlier this year, FSSAI fixed limits of formaldehyde in fish and fisheries products and issued a direction, which stated that the ad hoc limit of formaldehyde in food category of fish, including molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms, shall be 2mg/kg max for freshwater and 100mg/kg for brackish water/marine origin.

“The limits were for natural occurring formaldehyde, and this was a temporary arrangement made by the regulator, as the matter was still under consideration and a final decision shall be taken in the due course of time,” the notice stated.

“The issue was examined by the concerned scientific panel of the FSSAI, which has recommended a detailed assessment of the issue. However, taking into account the instructions of the High Court of Bombay at Goa, as well as the scientific concerns related with the formaldehyde, it has been decided to set an ad hoc limit of naturally occurring formaldehyde till final assessment is done,” the notice said.

The direction stated that the ad hoc limit shall be applicable till the panel recommends a final limit for the naturally occurring formaldehyde, which is still under consideration of expert panel of FSSAI.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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