Safe food campaigners yesterday demanded the government go for strong monitoring and surveillance to ensure safe foods for all.
“People have to eat food to live. So, food has to be safe and good as much as possible. Good food is a condition for a civilized nation,” said Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed, chairman of Bishwa Sahitya Kendra, a non-profit institution.
He spoke at a discussion on food safety at the office of institution in Dhaka.
The country has been suffering from the fear of unsafe foods for nearly two and a half decades, he said. “Our life, well being and life expectancy all are related to food.”
Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) should introduce strong monitoring to ensure food safety, he said.
A study has recently found pesticides in 62.5 percent of the vegetable samples collected directly from farms, BFSA Member Prof Md Iqbal Rouf Mamun said at the event.
“Even after a rinse, 37.5 percent of the samples still contained pesticide residue. After cooking, 81.25 percent of the samples were safe for human consumption though they still contained some level of the contaminants.” The study also found that the level of pesticide residue that remains after washing is within the permissible limit, Mamun said.
However, Shykh Seraj, a prominent media and agriculture development activist, raised questions about the quality of safety of the foods.
“If domestically grown vegetables are safe, why they do not get access to chain superstores and main markets in Europe?”
The soil has become contaminated by heavy metal for use of chemical fertiliser, he said.
“About 80 percent of the farmers are yet to go for organic farming.”
It is vital to strengthen the food safety authority, said Prof Shah Monir Hossain, senior national adviser to the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Bangladesh.
Farmers should stop using antibiotic in poultry farms at the production level, he said. “It is an unethical practice.”
Md Mahbub Kabir, a member of BFSA, also spoke.