The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) has with immediate effect ordered the closure of a Cold storage, pending the imposition of a fine for the usage of high 'unacceptable' level of concentration of formaldehyde (19.14mg/l) to alter the natural property of imported fish in the possession of the Cold storage.
The Old road branch of the Diamond Food Enterprise was ordered closed recently following the receipt of a laboratory examination result which was commissioned by a joint governmental inspection team.
According to the Laboratory examination result, a sample of imported fish in the possession of the Diamond Food Enterprise contained a high degree of formaldehyde which was used by the cold storage for preservation.
The result further established that said preservative used on the fish is highly toxic, and is a banned substance for use on food, thus, singular action by the importer to have used a highly toxic and banned substance on the fish products is dangerous to consumers' health.
It can be recalled that the Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), Emma Metieh-Glassco, on May 22, 2018 requested the National Standards Laboratory of Liberia to conduct examination on a certain fish product which was submitted to it on the same day.
The plastic fish in the cold storage before discovery
The request for a laboratory examination on the fish product followed a tip-off from a local consumer who had purchased the fish product, but claimed that the fish was made of plastic.
Following the tip-off, a joint inspection team comprising the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority, the Ministry of Commerce and the Liberia National Police, immediately visited the importer and took seize of the matter.
Relying on a Conformity Assessment Test conducted by the National Standards Laboratory which was issued on May 29, 2018, NaFAA indicated that the sample fish submitted is identical and has a typical property of a fish; except that the usage of formaldehyde to preserve the fish is totally illegal and unacceptable.
The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority says it therefore cautions all businesses operating in the Fisheries industry to desist from the usage of any and all banned substances for the preservation of food products, stressing that NaFAA would not hesitate to employ punitive measures against anyone engaging in unacceptable business practices in the Fisheries industry.
In a related development, the governments of Liberia and South Korea have initiated a high level discussion aimed at drastically reducing illegal fishing on Liberian Waters.
The International discussion, which took place on Thursday May 24, 2018 at the Mesurado Pier on the Bushrod Island, brought together a nine member Korean delegation headed by YU Byeonghyun Director of the Fisheries Monitoring Center at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries in South Korea as well as the government of Liberia through the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) in a bilateral discussion aimed at working out mechanisms for the reduction of illegal fishing in Liberia.