Samples of 36 Ramadan food items did not meet criteria set by the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) from among that of 175 items recently tested, said Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu yesterday.
Tests are ongoing as samples of 286 food items widely consumed during Ramadan were collected in total from open markets and factories in the last one and a half months, he said.
Amu was informing journalists in his office on government measures to verify safety standards and tackle adulteration during the Muslim month of fasting with increased surveillance and strict measures against unscrupulous traders.
The government will take action, as stipulated in rules and regulations, against 33 companies producing the 36 items, he said. Of the 33, nine did not provide the prerequisite amount of vitamin A in soybean and palm oil, seven produced substandard processed milk, ghee and vermicelli and 20 produced drinking water containing coliform bacteria above the permissible limit.
SM Ishaque Ali, director (certification of mark) of the BSTI, told The Daily Star that the 33 companies have already been issued show-cause letters.
If any challenged the test reports, there will be another round of testing following similar sample collections in presence of the company representatives, he said. Licences of companies whose products fail to meet standards in this test will be cancelled and the BSTI will file court cases, he added.
During Ramadan, mobile courts will be run comprising the Dhaka district administration, Rapid Action Battalion, Dhaka Metropolitan Police and Armed Police Battalion, said Amu. There will also be special mobile courts led by the BSTI, which have already started operating, he said.