The responsibility of ensuring food safety cannot be taken lightly
What can be more depressing and worrying than the fact that a total of 52 products manufactured by the renowned food and water producers are of substandard quality? It is more worrying when these products are so popular and widely publicized among consumers.
God knows about the quality of the products that are not so publicized and promoted among us, the hapless consumers.
A citizen had to go to the highest court of law to intervene in the public health matter and announce the ban on those 52 items. Our standard and testing institution should have been enough in order to keep these products out of the market.
We wonder what our BSTI officials do when their responsibility is to ensure safe food for the people across the country. It’s evident that they haven’t been doing anything for shouldering their responsibility.
The essential commodities such as water, spices, salt, edible oil, etc are of low quality. It’s shocking to imagine that that producing companies of these products speak so highly about them in their promotional content.
I felt extremely betrayed when I heard that those products were not fit for human consumption. The companies have been cheating us, saying that their products are of the best quality.
I cannot avoid thinking about the reason behind this practice of supplying low quality products to the consumers. One reason could be greed. They want to profit at the lowest possible cost.
For example, no one would understand if you mix wood dust in cinnamon powder and sell them in the market. The people would consume that dust no matter what their standards are.
It’s very interesting to see that the BSTI tests always take place before and during the month of Ramadan. What do they do during the rest of the year? Does that mean the officials of BSTI sit idle throughout the year and they only work during Ramadan?
And when Ramadan is over, will they again go back to their cocoons and forget about the low quality products? Has this been the practice over the years? Why do they receive remuneration from their office, in that case?
Why has the government entrusted them with the responsibility of ensuring the standard of commodities? They must do their jobs, failing which they should all resign from their responsibilities.
The job they are trusted with is a very important one for the nation. It’s something that one cannot neglect.
Now that the BSTI knows that those products are of inferior quality, and the court of law has banned them, the government agency should run a campaign among the consumers so that they don’t consume them.
Now, let’s turn to iftar items which are special to Ramadan. The media is brimming with the news that every nook and corner of the country is bubbling with substandard iftar items. The people are being cheated by a sea of rotten supplies in the market.
Who’s monitoring that? A great many buyers are discovering that their purchases are not what they thought when they return home after buying the food products. They are of substandard quality and, on many occasions, they are rotten.
Apart from the food items and bottled water, we have also worries regarding the prime supplier of water -- Wasa. The water of Wasa is also contaminated with insects and germs.
Now we find that any bottled water company could just pour the water from Wasa taps and sell them in the market in the name of mineral water.
All this indicates that we have been giving more importance to making money over people’s wellbeing. From the government officials to private business owners, nobody seems sincere about maintaining the quality of food items.
Sometimes, we make some noise about correcting our practices, but after a while, we also go silent about it. It’s time that we treat consumers like consumers; they spend their hard-earned money in order buy these products. The matter must not be taken that lightly.
Ekram Kabir is a story-teller. His other works can be found on ekramkabir.com.