POST TIME: 7 April, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 6 April, 2018 08:35:02 PM
Public Health Issues in Bangladesh

Public Health Issues in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, food adulteration with toxic chemicals has reached an epidemic proportion which is harmful to health. These adulterate foods are known as ‘silent killer’. At present, all kinds of raw foods and manufactured foods are adulterated. It is very difficult to find a sector of food industry which is free of adulteration. Everyday food items-raw foods like the vegetable, fruits, milk and milk products, fish, meat and processed food are contaminated. Mostly used adulterants are formalin, textile colors, leads, melamine, shampoo, artificial sweeteners and urea. Foods contamination with toxic chemicals pose is a serious threat to public health, especially in a country like Bangladesh where due to poor health literacy, level of awareness is very low. Early effects of ingestion of such foods may be severe forms of diarrhea, constipation, obesity, insomnia, skin rash etc. which is threatening life. In the long run, these chemicals in food adversely affect vital organs such as the liver and kidney resulting in organ failure or cancer and thus, untimely loss of life.

WHO (World Health Organization) has provided five keys to safer food.

•    Keep clean

•    Separate raw and cooked food

•    Cook food thoroughly

•    Keep food at safe temperatures

•    Use safe water and raw materials.

In current time, a considerable number of diseases are significantly caused by food in Bangladesh.

Consumption of food which has adulterants is a serious threat to public health. In Bangladesh, through a joint study of IPH and WHO, it was found that foods of all 52 street vendors that were tested were contaminated with different types of disease-breeding micro-organisms. Another study of 2003 revealed that among 400 sweetmeat shops,

250 pieces of bread, 50 pieces of bread and 200 ice creams samples, 96 percent of sweetmeats, 24 percent of biscuits, 54 percent of bread and 59 percent of ice creams were adulterated.

A statistic reveals that nearly half of the food samples was found adulterated by the IPH from 2001 to 2009. Consumption of adulterated foods has several impacts on our body and health. According to WHO, at least 501 people visit the hospital everyday by consuming unsafe food.

We can suffer from many dangerous chronic diseases, communicable and non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, diarrhea, etc. There are many legal and regulatory regimes for ensuring food safety in Bangladesh. More than a dozen of laws such as Penal Code 1860, Control of Essential Commodities Act-1956, Food Act-1956, Pure Food Ordinance, 1971, etc that deal with this concern. Yet people in general hardly consume foods that are free of adulteration.

(This article is prepared by Shafayet, Maisha, Dharmendra, Riazul and Zaman, all are students of

North South University)