Fruit wholesalers and importers in Dhaka today threatened not to sell or import any fruits during the month of Ramadan if the use of “faulty” formalin detection device is not stopped immediately.
The traders also urged the government not to take any step to destroy fruits in the name of formalin contamination without ensuring proper examination in the laboratory.
“If there any suspicion, fruit should be examined in the laboratory properly,” said Sirajul Islam, general secretary of Dhaka Metropolitan Fruits Import-Export and Merchant Multiple Cooperative Society Ltd.
The fruit traders are being harassed as Dhaka Metropolitan Police started the anti-formalin drive on June 11 and kept destroying fruits after testing those by using Formaldehyde Metre Z-300, Sirajul said while reading out a written statement at a press conference at the association's office.
The Formaldehyde Meter Z-300 is not meant for measuring formalin in fruit items, he said adding that they wrote to the kit’s makers in US.
"The US company informed us that the kit is meant to measure chemicals or gases in the air of laboratories, not in fruit items," Sirajul added.
The general secretary said they communicated with the commerce ministry and the DMP before beginning of the recent drive requesting not to use the kit.
Around 150 containers of imported fruits, including grapes, apples, and dates remained unreleased at Chittagong port, and those fruits will not be sold out if the use of kits is not stopped, he said.
The fruit shops in the capital will remain shut from 6:00am to 12:00pm tomorrow, he added.
The fruit traders will also form a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club on the same day protesting the ongoing anti-formalin drive.
Mobile courts have been using the kits over the last two years for detecting formalin in fish, fruits and vegetables items across the country.