Food safety law with some teeth | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 03, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:01 PM, July 02, 2013


Food safety law with some teeth

Stringent enforcement key to success

AFTER much anticipation, a draft food safety law as approved by the cabinet is set be enacted through the parliament. The piece of legislation will replace the archaic Pure Food Ordinance, 1959 which covered only eight food commodities and practically gave carte blanche to adulterators with lenient sentencing of up to three months and a paltry fine of Tk5,000. The new Act will raise penalties substantially with fines ranging from Tk1million and imprisonment for 7 years and a doubling of sentencing and fine for repeat offenders.
The creation of a separate agency, the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) modeled on the American Food and Drug Administration will draw resources from all 15 ministries entrusted with combating food adulteration. Although BFSA is entrusted with wide ranging responsibilities of stemming the tide against use of non-food grade chemicals from point of production to point of sale, it will require substantial human resources to make a dent in the fight against adulteration. Precisely how BFSA will coordinate activities with other ministries and the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) has not been spelt out.
The range of industrial grade chemicals and coloring now being used to make food more presentable and preserve them is mind-boggling. However, for the food safety authority to succeed in its role as the watchdog for food standards, it is imperative to equip it with requisite manpower and financial resources so that it may truly uphold the cause of public health.

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