Minister pledges to control formalin use
The government will enact a tough law to control the use of formalin on fish and fruits soon, Commerce Minister GM Quader said yesterday.
Under the proposed law, the commerce ministry will ask formalin sellers to provide details on the use of formalin and the quantity to be sold.
“Businessmen will have to provide details about the buyer and quantity of formalin sold to them,” Quader said.
Quader spoke as the chief guest at a function to hand over a 'formalin detection machine' to traders at Malibagh kitchen market in Dhaka.
The minister suggested setting up cold stores in kitchen markets to stop the use of formalin for preservation of fish, meat and other perishable food items.
Traders generally put formalin on perishable food from fear that the items would be spoilt before reaching city markets, Quader said.
“So, there is no alternative to building cold stores to help small traders survive in competitive markets," he said.
He particularly urged the agriculture ministry and the private entrepreneurs to come forward in this regard.
The minister also stressed the need for the transportation of perishable goods on a priority basis. “We have to give priority to transportation of perishable goods at waterways so that they can reach the destination as early as possible,” said Quader
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has taken the initiative to supply the machines to kitchen markets with financial assistance of Social Islami Bank Ltd to detect the use of formalin in food.
Quader said imports of perishable food items are formalin-free on arrival, but a section of unscrupulous businessmen use formalin to increase shelf life.
The use of formalin in perishable items is destroying the future of the next generation, said Benazir Ahmed, Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner.
“We have to take a holistic approach to fight the poisonous chemical,” he added stressing the need for monitoring its use.
The country has to reinforce regulation at the entry points such as land and sea ports to stop formalin adulterated food from entering, he said.
Declaring Malibagh kitchen market formalin-free is a good effort, said Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association.
She said the move will certainly encourage people to buy products from the market.
Mostafa Azad Chowdhury, acting president of FBCCI, was also present.