Production and sale of adulterated foods are rampant across the country around the year in the absence of adequate measures by the authorities concerned.
Particularly the crime is widely committed during the holy month of Ramadan as demand for foods increase.A section of businessmen profiteer greatly by selling substandard and adulterated foods due to growing demand of essentials during the month, sources said.
During their ongoing drive, government authorities destroyed a huge quantity of substandard food and fined some super shops, prominent restaurants for preserving and selling adulterated foods.
Mobile courts fined top restaurants, makeshift shops for selling unhygienic and adulterated food items.
Conscious consumers also urged the authorities concerned to continue drives against food adulteration round the year.
Shafiqul Islam Laskar Director General of Directorate of National Consumers’ Right Protection said they usually monitor the market ahead of Ramadan as the dishonest businessmen take this time ideal for food adulteration following the increasing demand of foods.
He said they would continue their market monitoring drives round the year as they got huge response from consumers during the month.Officials from Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), Dhaka district administration, police and RAB members began drives against food adulteration in the capital in Ramadan while Directorate of National Consumers’ Right Protection conducted market monitoring process.
They are monitoring adulteration of popular foods like fruits, puffed rice, dates, bananas, mangoes, soft drink, fruit juice, edible oil, mustard oil, ghee, vermicelli, drinking water and different consumers right issues.
They conducted drives in prominent restaurants, super shops and other business establishments and found unhygienic condition in the kitchen, date-expired food items in super shops and others irregularities.
During the drives, they seized adulterated food items, jailed and fined businessmen and sealed off the businesses.
It was found that colouring agents are used in spices, sauces, juices, lentils and oils. Different chemical used in fruit, meat and milk.
Besides, rye flour is used in barley, bread and wheat flour; urea is used in puffed rice and rice. Besides, burnt oil and hydrous is used to fry ‘jilapi’ while artificial fragrance is applied on flowers.
Food adulterated is increasing day by day with different cunning ways, said Ariful Islam, a private company employee.
“In Ramadan, special drives were conducted to check food adulteration. But such a drive was not seen in other time of the year,” he said.
“Mobile court fines dishonest businessmen, but they again continue their illegal business. We need to boycott those illegal businessmen socially,” Saidul Islam, a bank employee, said.
“People extend full support for drives against food adulteration. So we demanded that the anti-adulteration drive should continue round the year,” he added.
Professor Dr Khaleda Islam of Institute of Nutrition and Food Science of Dhaka University said if a person eats adulterated food, it gets rapidly digested and transported into blood, causing serious health hazards.
“Owners of different iftar shops reportedly mix inedible colours with their items like beguni, potato and vegetable chops, piaju and jilapi to make these attractive to allure buyers.”
People, who consume these poisonous food items, suffer from deadly diseases like kidney infection, cardio-vascular disorder, early diabetes, liver cirrhosis, cholera, etc, she added.
She urged the people to be aware and make others conscious about the harmful effects of taking adulterated foods.