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DU students at health risk

  • Mohammed Raihan
  • 28th January, 2022 09:57:10 AM
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DU students at health risk

Hall canteens and cafeterias of Dhaka University (DU) have been serving poor quality food at a higher price posing a threat to the health of students of the country’s premier university.

While visiting the hall canteens, cafeterias and other makeshift food stalls on the campus recently, this correspondent found a shocking picture.

Foods were being prepared without following minimum hygiene standards. Cooked foods were found kept uncovered with flies buzzing over them. Besides, various ingredients including testing salt are used in the foods, which, according to experts, is detrimental to health. The students said by consuming these unsafe foods, they are suffering from various food-borne diseases and malnutrition.

“The atmosphere in the canteens is horrible. Young boys work as waiters who have no knowledge of basic hygiene and sanitation. No hygiene is maintained while serving foods. The cooking environment is even worse. Those who have seen the kitchens of the canteens know how disgusting the cooking environment is,” said Probal Kumar Mondol, a student of the university’s Nutrition and Food Science Institute.

“Testing salts are used in the canteens to enhance the taste of food. Its impact isn’t good. Students consume these foods as they have no other option. But it is sad to see such state of this university, which is known as one of the best universities in the country,” he added.

Foods are also prepared and served in an unhygienic condition at various makeshift food stalls like in Hakim Chattar, Milon Chattar, TSC and in front of central library of the university.

Earlier, the university authorities formulated a "Standard Operating Procedure" (SOP) to ensure proper hygiene amid the pandemic.

As part of the SOP, students were instructed to get properly balanced diets to achieve better immunity.

However, students said that the SOP has remained on paper. The university and hall authorities don’t even feel necessary to look after these, they alleged.

They also demanded that the authorities conduct mobile courts in the canteens, cafeterias and other food stalls on a regular basis and punish those who are not abiding by hygiene rules.

“Anti-food adulteration drives are carried out all over the country, but why not on the university campus? I don’t remember when I last had food on the campus because of the poor quality of food. There is also a lack of safe drinking water,” said Mushfiqul Islam Shovon, a student of the university.

Fazle Elahi Adnan said, “Although the food prices are rising, quality is declining. Unhealthy and low quality food is slowly killing us.”

“No one is paying attention to this serious matter,” said another student named Rayhan Azad.

When contacted, DU Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman told the daily sun, “It is vital to stick to hygiene while making and serving food. Strict measures will be taken if hygiene standards are not met properly.”

He also said that mobile courts will be conducted in the canteens and cafeterias on a regular basis.