The basic human needs are food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care. One of these basic needs is food.
Article 15 of the Constitution of Bangladesh recognizes food as a basic ingredient and Article 32 recognizes it as a fundamental right to life. Pure and nutritious food is needed for good health. But if there is adulteration in food, the body or health is not good.
Now the question is, what is meant by adulterated food? Foods that are not pure or that are mixed with various chemical or non-essential substances to achieve a nefarious purpose, which are harmful to human health and life, we can call adulterated food.
We see that food is being adulterated in various ways. Formalin is given to fish and vegetables in the raw market using various techniques. Fish and vegetables are given formalin. Formalin is applied from the fishing ground. The task is easily accomplished by injecting large fish, and dipping small fish into a drum of water mixed with formalin.
Various local and foreign fruits such as mango, banana, apple, grape, pear, papaya, guava etc. are being mixed with toxic chemicals. These chemicals are used to ripen the fruit and prevent rot. Calcium carbide is being used to ripen immature fruits and more alkaline textile dyes are being used to convert them into bright colors.
Not only that, meat, baby food, jam-jelly, pickles and everything else is adulterated. Instead of salt, urea is being mixed in puffed rice. Melamine is mixed in milk. Color enhancing chemicals are used in sweets. To reduce the cost of production, various bakery food products in Bangladesh use adulterated coarse flour, flour, oil, rotten eggs and various low-quality ingredients. Bakery also uses a variety of chemicals to keep food produced fresh.
Although the production of energy drinks and juice factories is supposed to be done continuously on auto machines, all the work is done in a hammering Manner.
In 1994, the US Environmental Protection Agency reported that formalin caused cancer in the lungs and pharynx. In 2004, the World Health Organization blamed formalin for causing cancer in the throat area.
According to doctors, harmful carbides, industrial dyes, formalin, and parathion are used to make a variety of foods and fruits attractive and to preserve them for a long time. According to them, taking them increases the risk of developing various complex diseases including kidney, liver function and asthma.
Diseases that affect people more due to adulterated food are allergies, asthma, skin diseases, vomiting, headaches, food poisoning, loss of appetite, high blood pressure, brain stroke, kidney failure, heart attack, etc.
People commit crimes such as adulteration of food due to incompetence, failure or excessive greed. Sometimes the indomitable desire for wealth or unequal competition motivates people to do such things.
As the population grows and the pressure on limited food increases, there is a tendency among unscrupulous traders to increase the quantity or expiration of food by adulterating it.
There are also other factors that are responsible for food adulteration, such as the expectation of making more profit, lack of supervision, lack of proper ethics of law enforcement, lack of food transportation and storage system, trying to attract the attention of the buyer in any way.
Food adulteration has now become an epidemic in Bangladesh. All those involved in such acts can be called silent killers.
Food adulteration is more prevalent in developing countries than in developed ones. The most unfortunate thing is that while the developed countries are constantly trying to purify the food, the unscrupulous traders of Bangladesh are adulterating the food with various techniques and causing the disease to spread to the human body slowly and slowly.
It is also hindering the creation of human resources. It should not be forgotten that the creation of skilled human resources is not possible without physical and mental well-being.
Due to the lack of adequate and consistent steps in Bangladesh to control food adulteration, unscrupulous traders are continuing to adulterate. Therefore, in order to prevent adulteration in food, the existing laws need to be implemented quickly and if necessary, the laws need to be amended accordingly.
Appropriate implementation of the Consumer Rights Protection Act-2009, Pure Food Ordinance 1959 (Amended 2015), and Safe Food Act-2013 must be ensured. Anti-food adulteration campaigns must be continued through mobile courts. Not only fines but also exemplary punishments like legal imprisonment must be ensured in order to reap the lasting benefits.
Various organizations including BSTI, Consumer Rights Protection Association, environmental organizations have to play a leading role in this regard. The print and electronic media, under the auspices of the government and the merchants' association, need to intensify anti-food adulteration campaigns in the public interest.
Not to be silent, civil society must play a special role in this regard. Necessary surveillance should be taken so that various imported chemicals including formalin cannot be used in food. Not only that, it is important to bring all the activities from production to delivery to the consumer under inspection. Strict policies need to be formulated to control the quality of food.
It is necessary to formulate an integrated strategy against food adulteration by eliminating the lack of coordination through mutual communication of the concerned agencies including the Ministry of Food.
What is most needed is to build a social movement against food adulteration by creating awareness among the people. The people of Bangladesh will live a long time by consuming pure food like a developed country, not die by consuming adulterated food, this is the expectation of all of us.
Writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Management, Sankuchail Degree College, Burichang, Cumilla, Email: [email protected]
BDST: 1244 HRS, OCT 30, 2021