Wednesday, 10 August, 2022

Ensuring food safety at restaurants

In 2019 Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) had launched a noble initiative to bring hotels and restaurants under a grading system depending on the quality of their services and level of hygiene maintained. Mobile court drives were launched to monitor the eateries in different parts of the city; and in the first phase, some 56 restaurants were inspected and graded by BFSA according to their standards, ranging from A+ to C categories.

Many thought that the move would help improve the quality of food in city restaurants. But ironically, this much-appreciated move lost steam before long. Although mobile court drives are still being conducted randomly, it is more like just a drop in the ocean considering the large number of hotels and restaurants in Dhaka and BFSA’s scant manpower.

Eating out in general is considered an unhealthy habit. However, while many people dine out frequently with their friends and family out of choice, many others have no option other than relying on restaurants for food.  Hotels, restaurants and roadside eateries are serving millions of people every day, but these crucial service providers are dogged by allegations of gross violation of food safety rules. Media often shows how foods are cooked in a very unhealthy atmosphere in many restaurants. Reuse of edible oil in hotels and restaurants often takes a serious toll on consumers’ health. Some unhealthy food items have grown into popularity because of their easy availability at a lower cost. This is a serious issue but the sporadic drives did bring out no lasting results.

Public awareness about what they are eating and its impact on their health is a must, but at the same time food safety rules should be strictly enforced on all hotels and restaurants. Restaurants play an important role in city life and the standard of their service should not be left on the whims of their owners.