Under fire for his alleged support to a trader of carcinogenic formalin-laced fish from neighbouring states, Goa Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai on Saturday said not just fish but eating contaminated fruit also causes cancer.
Sardesai also told a press conference that the coastal state, a popular seafood destination, may ban bringing fish from outside the state in future if the consignments again test positive for formalin content.
"Suppose this happens again, we should ban fish coming from outside the state, I am of the view. There are four states which have taken a view on this -- Assam, Kerala, Odisha and Maharashtra. Now in the fish ban period, fish is only coming from the eastern coast. So I'm taking a stand that suppose such an incident happens again, we should ban it," Sardesai said.
On Friday, after conducting field raids at the Margao and Panaji fish markets, Food Drug Administration officials confirmed the presence of formalin or formaldehyde, a chemical used as a disinfectant to preserve dead bodies, in fish consignments brought from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
The officials had sealed the fish consignments, which contained traces of formalin, but a tweet by Sardesai giving a clean chit to the importer and a subsequent laboratory report by FDA claiming that the formalin content was within permissible limits, has caused outrage.
Sardesai also said, that he was aware of the perils of carcinogenic agents, adding that his sister had died of cancer.
"That why we are talking about safe food for vegetarians also... My sister has died of cancer, remember this. When we have gone into the depth of it, we feel that it is the consumption of fruits that is the cause of cancer," Sardesai said.
"My father was a scientist. He's a PhD and he's also a rationalist. He's gone deep into it. She used to only eat small fish like verli (silver fish) and not big pomfrets or kingfish. I am a person who is a victim of his contamination of food. So I am not going to defend anybody," Sardesai also said.
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