The High Court today sought the report of Dhaka University’s Pharmacy Faculty and Biomedical Research Centre that found detergent and antibiotics for humans in packaged milk available in kitchen markets and grocery shops.
The antibiotics include levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin and azithromycin that are used mainly to treat bacterial infections in humans.
The court asked lawyer of Bangladesh Standard Testing Institute (BSTI) Barrister Sardar MR Hasan to collect the DU researchers’ report on the packaged milk to submit it to this court on next Sunday (July 7).
The High Court bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir lytton passed the order while hearing a writ petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer advocate Tanvir Ahmed.
During the hearing, the HC bench accepted a test report of the BSTI which said it has not detected any harmful substance in fourteen brands of milk.
WHAT DID THE REPORT SAY?
After testing seven samples of widely-sold pasteurised milk and three samples of unpasteurised milk, the Pharmacy Faculty and Biomedical Research Centre in a report said the researchers found detergent and antibiotics for humans in packaged milk available in kitchen markets and grocery shops.
The study also found that nine other food items manufactured and marketed by some of the top brands in the country do not meet the BSTI standards. These items -- ghee, fruit drinks, turmeric powder, dry chilli powder, palm oil, mustard oil and soybean oil -- also contain ingredients harmful to human health.
The sample turmeric powders and fruit drinks, for example, contain substances that can cause cancer.
The study began in May last year and the samples were collected from Shahbagh, Chankharpool and Palashi in the capital.
Prof ABM Faroque, director of Biomedical Research Centre, unveiled the findings at a press conference at the DU on June 25.
WHAT DID BSTI SAY?
Earlier in February, BSTI’s own survey found lead and pesticides in milk marketed by top brands. It also found that the majority of raw and packaged milk do not meet the quality control authority’s safety standards.
Consumption of detergents, lead and pesticides can damage lungs, kidneys and liver.
Interestingly, however, the BSTI on June 25 submitted a report to the High Court saying its test did not detect any hazardous substance in pasteurised milk of 14 brands, including some top ones.
The BSTI conducted the test in line with an HC order on May 21 last year.
WHY DID PHARMACY DEPT REFUSE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY?
On June 28, DU pharmacy department said that it would not take any responsibility of the research findings that claimed antibiotics and detergent were found in milk.
The pharmacy department issued a press statement claiming that the report was not done by the department, rather it was a personal research.
“The pharmacy department is not taking any responsibility of the research result published in the media, as the result was prepared based on personal research and the department has no involvement with it,” said the press statement signed by the department chairperson.