• Saturday, September 20, 2014

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Formalin

Editor's Note

UNITE to stop this crime

This is not to push the panic button. But as studies suggest, chemicals are recklessly and deliberately added to most of our food items making them harmful, and sometimes fatally so.  Slowly but surely, we're poisoning ourselves, day after day. The government sometimes wakes up to the reality after media reports. Some fruits are destroyed, traders fined and then the government goes back to sleep and the whole affair goes into oblivion, as the media change focus. Sadly and strangely too,...

Part-1

HARDLY ANYTHING SAFE TO EAT

HARDLY ANYTHING SAFE TO EAT

Pinaki Roy and Shahtub Siddique Anik Gazi Shahab Uddin, a retired government employee, has lived his life. He now worries about his family, especially his six-year-old grandchild. In his youth, food adulteration meant, at best, watering down milk or tampering with mustard oil. But now almost every food item, from rice to candies, is either adulterated or tainted with toxic chemicals. The more the grandfather learns about food adulteration from media reports, the more helpless he feels. What will his grandchild eat? What is the future of the next generation? “There is no food item that can be served without hesitation,” said Shahab Uddin, a resident of Monipuripara in Dhaka and a regular...

Part-2
Why adulterate food, fruit

Profit, more profit

Profit, more profit

Helemul Alam and Jamil Mahmud with Robin Gazi It is mainly the wholesalers who are to blame for food adulteration. If not at equal level, growers and producers are also indulging in such unlawful and criminal activities. Not many retailers use chemicals like formalin and calcium carbide in food items, but they all know which...

Part-3
WHO GAINS FROM PESTICIDES?

PESTICIDES USEd 15 times the limit

PESTICIDES USEd 15 times the limit

Porimol Palma with Suhas Shankar Chowdhury Apart from the pervasive adulteration of food, excessive use of pesticides, often of below par quality, in the cultivation phase poses serious threats to human health. A new study finds that almost one-third of the pesticides used in farming vegetables and fruits in the country are substandard. This is forcing...

Part-4
Restricted yet freely available

Old formalin in new bottle

Old formalin in new bottle

Refayet Ullah Mirdha with Mahbub Morshed Taking advantage of loopholes in the existing law, a section of traders is importing chemicals like paraformaldehyde that can be used as a substitute for formalin. Though import of formalin, a highly toxic chemical solution, has dropped drastically in recent times, import of chemicals similar to formalin has spiked...

A Reader’s Letter

Solution simple

Solution simple

Thoughts about and reactions to the danger posed by the use of formalin show why Bangladeshis, as a nation, are on a nosedive. Formalin is a harmful chemical. But the main problem does not lie with formalin; rather it is related to food preservation technology. And Bangladesh does not follow the globally acceptable standard system for fresh food preservation. The system is known as Cool Chain. The food preservation technology is very easy. Any fresh food goes through three types of reactions: chemical, bacterial and enzyme. Two methods can be applied to prevent this change. First, we can dry up the fruits or vegetables or, second, we can keep them in the...

No plan to make formalin testing kit mandatory: Tofail

No plan to make formalin testing kit mandatory: Tofail

The government has no plan for now to make it mandatory for all shops to keep ‘Digital Formaldehyde Meter’ for examining formalin in fruits due to high price of the machine, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed told parliament this evening. Replying to lawmakers’ queries, Tofail said the National Consumers Rights Directorate is supposed to oversee...

Part-4
Restricted yet freely available

Old formalin in new bottle

Old formalin in new bottle

Taking advantage of loopholes in the existing law, a section of traders is importing chemicals like paraformaldehyde that can be used as a substitute for formalin. Though import of formalin, a highly toxic chemical solution, has dropped drastically in recent times, import of chemicals similar to formalin has spiked after restrictions were imposed on...

The touch of the alchemists!

WHO says we no more study pure science subjects like physics and chemistry? If not physics, chemistry is being studied with great enthusiasm, even by half educated village traders who do wholesale business on the side line. Food is their favourite area of study.  Look at these extremely talented businessmen-cum-chemists working hard to apply their knowledge of chemistry in shady shops to keep our fruits, fishes, meat, milk and grains from decaying fast. Not only they save our precious...

At cost of people

At cost of people

Abu Bakar Siddique, a vegetable grower at Shibganj of Bogra, became frustrated after his neighbour bagged higher profit from growing bitter gourd on a piece of land smaller than his. He was certain that his neighbour's success lay in applying pesticides twice a week. But Siddique, 50, who also works as a mason sometimes, had time constraints and could spray pesticides only once a week. He also had this faint idea that excessive use of pesticides is harmful for humans. But his neighbours and millions of farmers across the country are least bothered about it....

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