Tanzania: Govt Allays Fears Over Harmful Chemicals Used for Preserving Fish

Dodoma — The government has issued a bold stance over the much circulated news that some people were using chemicals for embalming dead bodies to preserve fish, insisting that all fish products were safe and good for human consumption.

The stance was issued in the august House by Deputy Minister for livestock and Fisheries, Abdallah Ulega when responding to a supplementary question posed by Special Seats Member of Parliament Cecilia Paresso (CHADEMA), who demanded that the government issues a statement on information that went viral in both the mainstream and social media that there were some businesspersons in some areas who were using chemicals for preserving dead bodies to preserve fish.

According to Mr Ulega, there was no cause for alarm, even as investigations directed by Vice-President Dr Philip Mpango were still ongoing.

Earlier this week when in Mwanza Region, Vice-President Dr Philip Mpango ordered authorities to investigate and if there were signs of the much touted romours to take stern measures against people who use the alleged chemicals to preserve fish.

According to the VP, such preservatives were harmful to consumers' health and have been associated with the increasing cancer cases in the Lake Zone, calling upon regulatory bodies to bring to an end such practice.

"I call upon all people who use such preservatives for dead bodies to stop immediately, such practice is dangerous to people's health … current statistics show that cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world," he said.

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Equally, he called for further research in the area in order to get findings which will help the government in the fight against the disease, pledging that the government will provide 500m/- to support the studies.

Dr Mpango also noted that the government has been investing in infrastructure to move cancer fight services closer to the people.

According to him, statistics show that cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world, where in Tanzania approximately 42,000 cases are being reported annually.

The VP further said that the government would dish out 3.1bn/- for procurement of cancer machines in order to guarantee provision of services in the new cancer building.

During the questions and answers in parliament yesterday, the CHADEMA Member of Parliament demanded for the government's statement on what it had done to substantiate the truth of the much circulated information.

In her question, Ms Paresso argued that she had learnt from the media that preservation of fish in some areas in the country was being done via undetermined chemicals, something that was bringing unnecessary tensions to consumers.

"As I speak right now, I don't know what people should do to avoid fish that have been preserved in that style because we are informed that they are likely to cause cancer to consumers," she said.

However, in his response, Mr Ulega assured consumers and businesspersons inside and outside the country that all fishes were safe and good for human consumption, insisting that there was no cause for alarm at this moment.

Artmotion S.Africa

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