Unscrupulous profit-mongers cannot deal our `right to food` for business

20 November 2020

THOUGH Bangladesh is now self-sufficient in food, people are worried about scarcity of safe food as the quality of food is deteriorating gradually. Different government agencies conduct drives from time to time to confiscate food adulteration while Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) is in the forefront of the food safety initiatives. However, the BFSA's recent activities showed that they are not reliable to people rather providing clean chit to large conglomerates who are mainly involved in degrading food quality. In recent time, BFSA issued such official circular to brighten a retail chain shop though the chain shop was snapped penalties several times.
The BFSA on Wednesday sent a press release to the media, saying that its mobile court during a drive at an outlet of Shwapno Super Shop, a retail chain, thanked it for selling fresh meat. The drive was conducted at the retail chain's Green Road branch on Tuesday. But the BFSA press release skipped mentioning anything about the findings of one of its monitoring team which visited Shwapno's outlet in Dhanmondi Road No 27 on the same day. BFSA's food safety inspector Mohammad Kamrul Hasan posted a status on his Facebook profile with a video of the findings that showed use of artificial colour in the tray of the meat.
The Magistrate, who led the Mobile Court that praised the retail chain for selling fresh meat, said he was under official instruction to conduct drives at Shwapno outlets as the chain had been found selling expired meat last year. The BFSA must fulfil its obligations of ensuring safe and fresh food for consumers, when food safety is growing concern for all. The government is responsible for ensuring safe food as safe food is a constitutional right and also a fundamental demand for healthy life. Without proper steps to ensure safe, unadulterated and nutritious food right, BFSA cannot proclaim its success of responsibilities. The retail shop owners, food producers and food processing companies should respect the rights of safe food. We cannot let the food safety issue to unscrupulous profit-mongers.

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