Panaji: There is no correlation between the cancer spike in Goa and the illegal use of formalin to preserve fish being sold, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said late on Wednesday.
Responding to worries raised by the MLAs across party lines over the use of formalin or formaldehyde, a preservative commonly used in mortuaries to preserve cadavers, to preserve fish imported into Goa from other states.
"When we are saying that the number of cancer cases have risen, we cannot correlate this to formalin. Cancer has risen, but we have no study to prove that it has risen because of formalin," Rane told the state Assembly.
"If we spread panic by speaking like this in the House, then people will get the wrong message," he further said. The Health Minister also said that all possible measures were being taken by the government to ensure that the fish which is sold in Goa is safe for consumption.
The controversy involving use of formalin -- a carcinogenic chemical used to preserve cadavers in morgues -- in fish erupted in July last year, after an FDA team found traces of formalin in fish being sold in a South Goa fish market during a raid.