Safe food act to be effective from Feb 1
The government is going to start implementing the Safe Food Act 2013 from the beginning of next month to fight adulteration and protect public health.
Last week, the public administration ministry issued notices to appoint three members out of the five-member Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA). A member-secretary has also been appointed.
"We expect to appoint a chairman of the authority by tomorrow (today) and we will implement the law from February 1," Food Minister Md Qamrul Islam told The Daily Star by phone yesterday.
In a gazette issued on Monday, the food ministry said the law would come into force on February 1. This was issued after the government appointed two professors from the University of Dhaka and a former member of Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) as members of the food safety authority.
The appointees include Md Abdul Malek, a professor at the microbiology department, Md Iqbal Rouf Mamun, a professor at the chemistry department, and Majeda Begum, a former member of the BCSIR.
The new law aims to combat food adulteration in all stages of the supply chain and look at a variety of other food-related concerns of consumers.
The law is also expected to put an end to the current multi-pronged, multi-ministry controlled mechanisms of food safety issues.
The Bangladesh Pure Food (amendment) Act 2005 is currently in effect, but its implementation remains a far cry due to a lack of coordination among various ministries and agencies that are responsible for ensuring food safety.
"There was no agency to look after the food safety issues. As a result, food safety issues have been dealt with in a scattered manner by various government agencies. The authority will act as an umbrella to coordinate activities of all involved in the food supply chain," said a senior official of the food ministry, seeking anonymity.
In October 2013, the government framed the safe food act amid rising health threats and widespread food adulteration through the use of chemicals. But the law could not be enforced owing to a delay in framing rules and formation of a food safety advisory council and the BFSA, officials said.
The food ministry official said some rules have already been framed and the rest would be formulated as the BFSA starts working.