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HC orders lab testing of milk, curd

  • Published at 02:13 pm May 21st, 2019
File photo of a women milking a cow at a dairy farm Dhaka Tribune

It has set June 23 as the deadline for presenting the lab report

The High Court has ordered that raw cow milk, curd, and fodder from the market be tested, in light of rampant milk adulteration in Bangladesh.

The bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice KM Hafizul Alam on Tuesday ordered the Bangladesh Standards Testing Institute (BSTI) and Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) to present the lab report by June 23.

The court passed the order during the hearing of a suo moto ruling issued by the same bench on February 11.

Previously, on May 15, the court  ordered BSTI and BFSA to submit the report on Tuesday, after they failed to produce it within 15 days after the suo moto ruling was issued.

On Tuesday, Prof Shahnila Ferdousi, chief of National Food Safety Laboratory (NFSL), appeared before the court and handed over a report listing the companies or persons responsible for producing adulterated milk and milk products. 

The court said Shahnila was not the accused person; rather, she was providing assistance to the court.

In NFSL's report, the names of 30 curd-producing companies, 30 fodder, 31 packet milk, 96 raw cow milk producers, and several persons, were mentioned as containing toxic materials.

Also Read- Who is poisoning our milk products?

The report also mentioned several renowned companies, such as: Milkvita, Pran, Aarong, Farm Fresh, Swapna Organic, Aftab Dairy Milk, and others.

The court berated BSTI and BFSA for not being able to produce the same report within the given time. 

"If the NFSL could do it, why couldn't you?" the bench asked. "You are not conducting any research."

Previously, NFSL published a research report—which proved the existence of antibiotics in milk, lead in curd, above-permissible level of pesticides in fodder, and other contaminants—on February 10.

A day after the NFSL report came out, the High Court issued the suo moto ruling, ordering the authorities—including the Anti-Corruption Commission—to identify the companies responsible.

Different national dailies had published news items citing the survey report on the presence of pesticides, antibiotics, and bacteria in raw cow’s milk.

The secretaries of food, agriculture, fisheries and livestock, and health ministries and the Cabinet Division, all members of BFSA, members of CFSMCC, and chairman of BSTI were made respondents to the ruling.

BFSA then submitted a report, corroborating the NFSL report, which prompted the same High Court bench which passed Tuesday's order, to order the authorities concerned to form a committee and find out how much contaminated milk, dairy products, and cow fodders is supplied and sold across Bangladesh.

It also wanted those responsible to be identified.

BFSA formed a 16-member committee on February 17, but it did not identify those responsible for the adulteration in its report.