Meghalaya health authorities flagged the issue of fungal and bacterial contamination of fish shipped in from outside the state.
This comes just a day after they found the presence of formalin in samples collected from markets.
Officials have already announced a ban on the shipment of fish from outside the state after the detection of formalin.
About 80 per cent of fish samples collected last month from across Meghalaya have tested positive for formalin, a colourless solution of formaldehyde in water, used chiefly as a preservative for biological specimens.
“The samples have also tested positive for serious fungal and bacterial contamination,” a senior health official told media on anonymity.
The official said that 30 of the 42 samples collected in the first phase have tested positive for formalin, adding that more samples are being collected from as many markets as possible.
According to FSSAI officials, ingestion of foods with mould contamination can cause memory loss, headache, joint pain and persistent cough. Ingestion of as little as 30 ml of a 37 per cent solution of formalin can be fatal for human consumption and continuous intake, even in smaller quantities, can cause major gastrointestinal diseases, the officials said.
Khasi Jaintia Fish Wholesalers and Retailer Association executive member C Wankhar said, “We urge the authorities to pinpoint those involved in putting formalin in fish. This is a serious criminal offence and the culprits should be punished”.
Shipment of fish had also been banned in the northeastern state in 2018 after samples showed the presence of formalin.
Currently, Meghalaya buys over 21,000 MT of fish mostly from Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam and consumes over 33,000 MT annually.
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