Make food safety council functional
A parliamentary body has recommended making the high powered national food safety advisory council functional and amending the related laws to introduce exemplary punishment for food adulteration.
In a report placed in the House yesterday, the parliamentary standing committee on the industries ministry said adulteration of food by adding hazardous chemicals has become a dangerous national problem.
"It is possible to prevent food adulteration by making the council effective," the report reads.
The advisory council had been formed under the Bangladesh Pure Food (Amendment) Act 2005 to give suggestions for food safety.
Headed by the local government and rural development (LGRD) minister, the council has representatives from the ministries of LGRD, agriculture, commerce, food, health, environment and forest, home, public administration affairs, and fisheries and livestock.
Members of the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI|), the chairmen of food and nutrition, and chemistry departments of Dhaka University, and the deputy commissioner of Dhaka were also included in the council.
Referring to the six laws dealing with food safety, the parliamentary body recommended that the government should move to introduce stringent and exemplary punishment by amending them.
Citing the role of the ministries, it said in the report that the government should take coordinated measures engaging the cabinet division to check adulteration of food and drug.
Besides, the city corporations, municipalities and district administrators should be active in dealing with this issue, and steps like holding discussions and review meetings at district and upazila levels every month should be taken to create public awareness, the report adds.
Committee chief Tofail Ahmed placed the report, urging the House to accept the recommendations.
Disposing of a call attention notice on food adulteration, the House on October 24 last year directed the committee to prepare a report on what the government should do to address the issue.
After the report was placed yesterday, AL lawmaker Maj (retd) Rafiqul Islam, who had issued the call attention notice, however, did not agree with the recommendations.
The committee should review its recommendations, he said. It had made the recommendations keeping the existing laws and mechanism unchanged.
"We need to take drastic measures against food adulteration to save our new and future generations," the ruling party MP observed.
Deputy Speaker Shawkat Ali, who was presiding over the sitting, however, rejected Rafiqul's suggestion.
Rafiqul also said that in the USA there is a dedicated body, food and drug administration, to ensure safety of food and life saving drugs. "But in Bangladesh, we do not have any such dedicated organisation."