The Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) ran tests on 96 samples of raw milk and found harmful bacteria like coliform in 93 of them. Indeed, most of the 190 samples of raw and packaged liquid milk, curd and fodder were found to have dangerous levels of harmful elements in them. The High Court had come up with the order following reports on adulteration published in major dailies including this paper on February 11. What this shows of course is that there is little oversight from authorities when it comes to food safety. Now that the report is out, several questions come to mind.
Why should these organisations need to be prodded by the High Court to do what they should do as a part of their routine job to make sure consumers are kept safe from adulteration of the food chain? In Bangladesh, we have the Food Safety Authority, the Central Food Safety Management Coordination Committee and the Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institution (BSTI) and it is the job of these agencies to look after food safety. Obviously, they have not been performing their intended roles. Otherwise, we would not be in this mess.
We must thank the High Court for ordering the investigation into the quality of foodstuff that people are consuming because now there is a clearer picture of what harmful chemicals and bacteria are present in different types of food and the feed that is used by farmers to rear livestock. It is time that these government bodies and their managements be made to answer for their gross negligence of duty and the anti-corruption commission should investigate if some officials have resorted to graft to look the other way to let infected products on to markets.