Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) is getting a modern ‘Food Laboratory’ opened soon to intensify vigilance and drive against adulterated and substandard food items flooding markets in the port city.
Starting from production to marketing levels all the food items can be kept under scanner of the laboratory to ensure food safety. Besides, the laboratory would also help bring the unscrupulous businesspeople engaged in the evil practice under trial gradually.
Local Government division of Local Government and Rural Development (LGDR) Ministry started setting up two such modern food laboratories in Dhaka and Chittagong under Urban Public and Environmental Health Sector Development project following the ‘Food Safety Act’ of 2013.
Asian Development Bank is financing the project involving around Tk 638.726 million, said CCC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kazi Mohammad Shafiul Alam.
The cost for the laboratory being set up on a CCC land measuring around six Katha in the city’s Bibir Hat area will be around Tk 280 million, he said.
Construction works of the laboratory have already been completed and most of the equipments for food testing installed, Shafiul told the daily sun.
“Alongside installation of the rest equipment, construction work of boundary wall of the laboratory is now going on,” said the CEO.
“We have sent a letter to the chairman of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority under the Food Ministry on April 26 this year seeking permission for testing food items in the laboratory,” he said.
An organogram for appointing 34 officials and staffs at the laboratory was also sent to the concerned authority earlier.
“As soon as we get permission for test and appointment of manpower the works can be started,” hoped the CEO.
Equipments and raw materials including furniture, 72 items of different equipments, 44 items of reagents of pharmaceuticals and analytical grades, 75 microbiology related items and 86 small equipments were supplied and installed at the laboratory.
Besides, a total of four officials including a chemist, a microbiologist, a quality assurance officer and an IT specialist were also appointed for the laboratory following directive of the concerned authority.
The CCC in the letter sent to the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority said the construction works of the laboratory that started on September 26, 2013 had completed on December 26 in 2014.
Proper enforcement of law will be possible along with inspection of the food establishment regularly, collection of sample of food ingredients, sending them to the laboratory and seizing the adulterated foods if the health and sanitary inspectors of the CCC can be appointed as food inspector according to the section 51 of the Food Safety Act of 2013, read the letter.
System for supply of 10 cusec-meter water from Chittagong Water Supply and Sewerage Authority and 2000 kilowatt power from the Power Development Board were developed for smooth running of the laboratory, it said.
Testing at the laboratory in Chittagong would help safe food management and enforcement of law since most of the food items including fruits are imported through the Chittagong Port.
CCC in the letter also requested for giving responsibility of food analyst and inspectors to its 11 health and sanitary inspectors for running the laboratory.
CEO Shafiul said adulterated foods are flooding the city and there is no modern and dedicated food laboratory for testing them. BSTI also doesn’t have sufficient facilities for ensuring the food safety.
‘Once the laboratory gets the required manpower and starts functioning, it will be possible to bring the food items under scanner of the laboratory,” he said.
Besides, laboratory tests by the concerned authority are required for taking delivery of imported foods from Chittagong port. The new laboratory will also help take delivery of imported items within a short time after completion of required tests, hoped the CEO.
A refrigerator van was procured under the project. The food inspectors will collect samples from the eateries of all levels in the van and examine them at the laboratory.
After getting positive result in Lab test the concerned firm will be given certificate while legal actions will be taken against the guilty one, said the CEO.