Unhygienic foods are being served at roadside hotels in different parts of the capital, posing serious health hazards.
Thousands of people take these foods every day due to cheap prices and good taste. By consuming the dirty foods, they invite great danger.Health experts said intake of such foods causes various fatal diseases such as cholera, typhoid, gastroenteritis and hepatitis.
Consumers are ignorant about the danger of the food they eat every day at eateries set up at footpaths, street corners, bus stops, markets and schools.
Sellers of the dirty foods go unpunished as they do not have holdings or licenses.
Low-income group and students are the consumers of these food items.
Cheap foods and drinks attract people at all time.
Flies and other insects are found on these foods and utensils are cleaned with dirty water.
Those who are engaged in food business have no idea of hygiene. They prepare foods in unhygienic conditions and keep them in dirty containers to sell.
Experts said street foods that are contaminated with micro-organisms, harmful chemicals and additives pose great health risk to consumers.
Street food is largely responsible for stomach-related ailments and typhoid, they added.
While visiting Azimpur Orphanage road area, this correspondent found that a large number of people were seen eating rice, vorta and curry at roadside and open-air eateries.
A rickshaw-puller, Monir, said, “I can’t afford food of a good hotel, so I take food at this roadside shop.”
“I never think whether it is good or bad for health. What I know is that I have to eat something,” he added.
While visiting by-lanes in Banani, many roadside food stalls were seen selling various food items, including fried rice, fried chicken, burgers and others items, in unhygienic conditions.
Shop owners admitted that they prepare the food items with ‘loose’ soybean oil and cheap materials. They use the same cooking oil until it turns dark.
Ashraf, a private university student, said, “They use cheap materials to make food and also use the same oil again and again, but we have nothing to say as they are providing food at a cheap price.”
Some consumers alleged that vendors use engine oil to make the food crispy. Similarly, there are complaints about the use of toxic dye as a colouring agent in the food served.
At evening a large number of makeshift shops are also seen selling winter pithas (cakes) in the capital. Most of them prepare food in an unhygienic condition and the ingredients for making these foods are not safe for health.
Professor Dr Khaleda Islam of the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science at Dhaka University (DU) said: “Anyone can suffer from diarrhoea and dysentery after eating unhygienic foods, which are made in unhealthy conditions.”
“They use the same cooking oil over and over again until its colour turned dark which is very dangerous and it can cause cancer,” she added.
She also said burn oil used for various food items caused acidity and gastric.
“If anyone eats this adulterated food regularly, it can cause cancer. Consumers should give importance to the nutrition value of the food items rather than their taste,” she said.
A Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute (BSTI) official told the daily sun the BSTI conducted drives in various restaurants and hotels under Pure Food Ordinance 1959.
As the new law (Food Safety Act 2013) is not implemented properly, they are now not operating mobile courts against unhygienic and adulterated food items,” he added.