War against food adulteration

20 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Food is a necessity of life. It provides essential nutrients and other substances that our body needs to maintain health. Therefore, food should be safe enough for consumption. But, unfortunately, food adulteration has become rampant in the country due to unscrupulous traders’ lust for unlimited profits. The entire country has been suffering from this menace for long. Presently, it has reached a dangerous level posing a serious threat to our health.

It is well-known that the Consumers’ Association of Bangladesh (CAB) that works for promotion and protection of rights and interests of the consumers has long been fighting against use of toxic substances on fish, fruit, vegetable and other consumer items.  Because of its relentless struggle, the government has enacted the Food Safety Act 2013 and finally established the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority in 2015. Its main objective is to ensure quality of food from farm to fork and from production to packaging.

The food safety authority in its acts had incorporated the provision of imprisonment or fine or both for persons guilty of food adulteration. But, it is a matter of great regret that the Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institute (BSTI) and other official organisations bothered less to take adequate measures to enforce the existing food safety acts. As to why, most of the basic food items including fruits, vegetables and sweetmeats got adulterated with hazardous chemicals in an indiscriminate manner. This has resulted in sharp rise in cancer patients and heart as well as kidney and other diseases that take a heavy toll on valuable lives of the public every year.   

What is most alarming is that artificial food preservatives are linked to hyperactive behaviour in children, the future of the nation. They must be protected from the harmful effects of unsafe foods. However, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has issued directives to the authorities concerned to curb food adulteration with an iron hand alongside creating awareness among businesspeople about such offence. But, it is not solely a responsibility of the establishment to check food adulteration. It is high time, consumers, health experts, administration and all other concerned to declare a war against food adulteration to save the nation from total ruination.