Food can be a source of health and wellbeing or the opposite depending on the quality of ingredients, food preparation hygiene - of the people and place of preparation and serving. Many people depend on the eateries near their homes or workplaces for their daily meals. To ensure hygienic food for the people, the food inspection teams of city corporations must run smoothly.
Restaurants in Dhaka are supposed to be regularly inspected to ensure clean and hygienic kitchens and food service. It is absolutely vital for public health and safety that the food served in eateries are always freshly cooked in hygienic environment with fresh ingredients. Food samples collected from eateries all over the city are supposed to be submitted to the Modern Food Testing Laboratory and Training Centre for testing regularly.Alarmingly, the inspection of food items has decreased in the capital over the last few years and one of the city corporations did not send any sample for laboratory test for the last three years, according to data of the Modern Food Testing Laboratory and Training Centre. Yet, both the City Corporations have several food inspectors, known as sanitary officers, whose job is supposed to be to collect food samples from dishes offered in various hotels, restaurants and other eateries in the capital and submit to the testing lab.
Previously the food samples were tested as per the standard set in the Pure Food Rules 1967, but now they are being tested following the standard set by Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI). Whatever the method or standard of testing, we are concerned about whether the millions of our city folks getting hygienic, healthy and unadulterated food from all eateries irrespective of their location or status.
It will be interesting to know if this change of testing standard is the reason for the less percentage of adulterated food being detected now than before. We don’t think the eateries of Dhaka city has suddenly become so improved that fewer discrepancies are being found! Reality is that insiders suggest that test results of many food items are being manipulated in connivance with food laboratory officials and sanitary inspectors.
Food safety standard must be above any sort of manipulation by all means. There can be no compromise in matters related to food as it directly affects the health of the people.