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Qamrul: Ensure safe foods for all

  • Published at 06:36 pm September 20th, 2018
Food Minister Qamrul Islam
File photo of Food Minister Qamrul Islam Dhaka Tribune

'We are working to ensure safe food rights for people, from production to consumption, and it is not possible without people’s participation and awareness about food adulteration'

Food Minister Qamrul Islam has said financial and other development alone will not make Bangladesh a developed country, adding that it is important to ensure safe food availability for all.

The minister made the statement addressing a round table discussion on Thursday titled “Food adulteration drives: Organizational crisis.”

Watchdog Bangladesh and Deshinfo.com.bd jointly organized the event at the National Press Club. 

Qamrul said: “We are working to ensure safe food rights for people, from production to consumption, and it is not possible without people’s participation and awareness about food adulteration. 

Deshinfo Editor Rashed Chowdhury said: “In Bangladesh, there are 18 ministries and around 486 organizations are working in the food sector, and there are also a lot of acts and rules against food adulteration. Despite all this, we can’t ensure safe and healthier food.

“Most of the available foods are contaminated with deadly harmful elements, and formalin is one of them.”

According to the Institute of Public Health report, among 43 food items, 13% are 100% adulterated, and the remaining is contaminated 40-80%. 

Bangladesh Standard Testing Institute Assistant Director Riazul Haque said they are conducting regular drives against adulterated foods and unsafe water.

He said: “We need more manpower in our sector to conduct the drives regularly and people’s awareness is also important to stop this.”

Safe Food Authority Chairman Mahfuzul Haque said: “It is still a challenge in Bangladesh to ensure coordination between government agencies.

"But if we can create awareness among people, and establish an environment of safe food consumption habits, the supplier will also be forced to produce safe and secure foods.”

Dhaka University Institution of Nutrition and Food Science Professor Dr Khaleda Islam said: “Media should not write grossly that all vegetables and fruits are contaminated with formalin.

“By following proper processes, we can also free the foods from chemicals and formalin. By putting fruits and vegetables into lemon or vinegar mixed water for half an hour will make the harmful chemicals disappear.” 

The professor also urged journalists not to write about formalin, which makes people give up consuming fruits and vegetables which are very important for growth of the human body. 

Bangladesh Hotel and Restaurant Owners' Association former president Kamal Uddin said: “The government agencies only conduct drives against restaurants; rather, they should go after food producers and suppliers who contaminate the foods.”

‘”The law should be enforced equally for all,” he added.

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