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BFAR to continue watching out for tainted fish in markets

BFAR to continue watching out for tainted fish in markets
By Catherine Teves
MANILA -- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Friday assured the public that it will continue monitoring fish sold nationwide despite negative laboratory results of formalin use in “galunggong” (round scad) samples taken from three wet markets in Metro Manila this week.

"BFAR will continue to remain vigilant in ensuring all fish commodities sold in markets, either locally sourced or imported, are safe and free from any harmful substance," BFAR Director Eduardo Gongona said in a statement released Friday.

To help intensify its monitoring, BFAR will collaborate with other agencies concerned, Gongona said.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has signed a certificate of necessity for the country's importation of “galunggong” within the 90-day period beginning Saturday (Sept. 1) "or until earlier revoked by the Secretary of Agriculture".

"For Metro Manila, an initial 17,000 metric tons of 'galunggong' from Vietnam, Taiwan and China is expected to be imported by fisheries stakeholders, including fishing boat operators, who will hang their nets during the closed fishing season, and organized fish vendors associations," he said on his Facebook page on Thursday.

The importation is meant to ensure supply and price stability of “galunggong” in the market while the fish spawns during the country's annual three-month closed fishing season beginning November.

Fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) cautioned about the planned importation, however.

Pamalakaya had warned that the “galunggong” the country will import might be contaminated with formalin, a solution used for embalming.

Last Wednesday, BFAR gathered “galunggong” samples from Balintawak Market, Farmers Market, and Navotas Fish Port to test these for possible contamination.

"No formalin was introduced to the samples," Gongona said in a statement on Friday, citing BFAR's laboratory test findings.

He noted BFAR's laboratory analysis detected "low levels" of formaldehyde, a chemical compound that naturally develops when fish dies.

Earlier, Gongona said the importation and unloading of “galunggong” will be in accordance with BFAR's guidelines on the matter.

"The imported 'galunggong' will be unloaded only in BFAR-accredited cold storage facilities and will undergo thorough inspection to ensure the fish commodity that will enter Philippine markets are safe and free of harmful substances," he said. (PNA)

BFAR to continue watching out for tainted fish in markets BFAR to continue watching out for tainted fish in markets Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 11:16:00 PM Rating: 5

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