Speakers at a discussion yesterday said the authorities concerned should work on fighting food adulteration and contamination at grower level to ensure food safety for all.
They said only random mobile court drives in the markets are not sufficient to ensure food safety. If required, the government should provide incentives to traders involved in agro and food processing so they do not get involved in food adulteration for profit.
Bangladesh Supermarket Owners’ Association (BSOA) and Bangladesh Food Safety Foundation organised the discussion on “Safe food for all: challenges and to-do” at Krishibid Institution Bangladesh, marking World Food Safety Day.
Referring to statistics, Mushtaq Hasan Muhammad Iftikhar, former chairman of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority, said globally one in every 10 people suffers due to food poisoning.
Hamidur Rahman, former director general of Department of Agricultural Extension, said a collective mindset against adulteration is required to ensure food safety. Consumers’ awareness is also imperative to this end, he added.
Manzurul Hannan, managing director of Hortex Foundation, said focus should also be given on contamination of natural resources like waterbodies and soil. “Fodder should be grown safely to avoid presence of lead in cow milk,” he said.
Referring to destroying food items during mobile court drives, Monirul Islam, director (nutrition) of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, said scientific reasoning must be applied in such cases to make sure that seized items should be destroyed.
Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan, general secretary of Consumers Association of Bangladesh, said while conducting drives, mobile courts should act sensibly.
Anwar Faruque, former agriculture secretary, said lack of infrastructure for agro-processing like storage facilities could be a reason for food adulteration at processing level.
M Muazzem Hossain, director general of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution, said the institution has been playing its regulatory role through conducting surveillance on 181 mandatory items in the market.
BSOA President Niaz Rahim chaired the discussion.