Traders in the capital yesterday declared Mohammadpur's Town Hall kitchen market formalin-free so that more people can buy unadulterated fish and vegetables there.
It is the fifth kitchen market to be declared free from formalin and carbide after Malibagh, Shantinagar, Mohakhali and Gulshan DCC-North markets in the capital.
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) organised a programme at the market to make the declaration.
Commerce Minister GM Quader inaugurated the formalin-free market by handing over a formalin detector machine and a deep freeze to the market committee.
"Customers can now buy fish, vegetables and fruits from the market without any hesitation. In case of any doubt, buyers themselves can do a test at the market," Quader said while addressing the programme.
The apex trade body has trained two staff of the market to use the formalin detector, donated by Dhaka Bank Ltd. The deep freeze, donated by Walton, will be used to preserve fish that are to be sold.
â€œFrom now on, we will not allow selling of fish, vegetables and fruits without a formalin detection test,â€ said Md Lutfor Rahman, president of Mohammadpur Town Hall City Corporation Kitchen Market Traders' Association.
The initiative comes at a time when the use of toxic chemicals in food is rampant and consumer concern about their adverse effects on health has peaked.
Some traders spray fish, fruits and vegetables with chemicals that are used for preservation in textile and leather industries and are poisonous to humans.
Speaking on the occasion, FBCCI President Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed stressed the need for creating awareness to fight against food adulterators.
"There are 30 large kitchen markets in the capital now,â€ said FBCCI Vice-President Md Helal Uddin. â€œWe want to declare all of them formalin-free in a couple of months."
He said several private banks have agreed to pay for a total of 23 formalin detection kits for the kitchen markets in the capital.
Speaking on the occasion, State Minister for LGRD and Cooperatives Jahangir Kabir Nanak called for identifying food adulterators and punishing them.
The commerce minister said the government would soon launch special drives at the five kitchen markets to check the misuse of toxic chemicals.
Malibagh kitchen market was the first to be declared formalin- and carbide-free on September 19.