There is a need for coordination among different government authorities and institutions concerned to ensure food safety while objective reporting in media can help achieve that goal, speakers said at a workshop yesterday.
Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) and BeezBistar Foundation, a non-profit NGO, organised the daylong workshop jointly at The Daily Star Centre at Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue.
The event was attended by journalists, experts and government officials.
“Media reports on food safety not backed by scientific facts could damage consumers’ confidence,” AKM Nurul Afsar, national team leader of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said, showing several news clippings in his presentation.
Referring to improper use of formalin test kits in the past, he said hundreds of tonnes of fruits and vegetable have been seized and destroyed, as a result of misconception regarding how formalin works.
“There are concerns [regarding food safety]. But it is not like everything we are consuming is poisonous. Containing chemical below the maximum residue limit (MRL) is not harmful,” Nurul Afsar added.
Referring to a latest study on broiler meat by FAO, he said they found chromium in all samples they tested. “But it was below the MRL.”
He said understanding food management chain is important.
Monzur Morshed Ahmed, member of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA), said, “Only penalising businessmen will not be fruitful. We have to consider whether they understand compliance or not.”
“We need large-scale intervention in all levels of production and food management chain to ensure food safety in the country,“ he said.
ABM Khaleduzzaman, assistant director (farm) of Department of Livestock Services (DLS), spoke on the state of the country’s livestock sector, poultry food supply chain and safety, and the livestock service department’s current activities and future projects.
Ghulam Rahman, president of CAB; Prof Nazma Shaheen of Dhaka University; MA Sobhan, president of BeezBistar Foundation; and Mostofa Kamal, executive editor of Bangla daily Kaler Kantho, also spoke at the programme, among others.