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24 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 24 June, 2019 01:27:51 AM
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HC slams BSTI, BFSA over ‘failure’ to ensure safe foods

STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
HC slams BSTI, BFSA over ‘failure’ to ensure safe foods

Two separate High Court Division benches yesterday expressed dissatisfaction over the ‘failure’ of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) and the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) to ensure safe food for the people. The HC bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader yesterday received a report submitted by the BSTI as per its earlier directive. The court had directed the BSTI to conduct drives to prevent the use of chemicals in fruit markets and warehouses. It also had asked the BSTI to submit a report in this regard before the court in two months.

The HC bench also asked the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to inform it about the latest status of buying and installation of machines at land ports across the country to examine whether imported fruits are free of chemicals or not. Earlier, it had ordered the NBR to buy machines and install those at every land forts so that only chemical-free fruits could enter the country.

During yesterday’s proceedings, the HC observed that the government allocates huge amounts of money for every sector, but the money is not utilised properly. It also observed that the people have been suffering from various illnesses for consuming toxic fruits and food.

“We must look after our next generation. We don’t want to them to die after consuming toxic food. Everyone should come forward to get rid of toxic fruits and food,” the HC bench said.

The court warned unscrupulous businessmen of take stern action for using harmful chemicals in fruits. It said that it would direct the authorities concerned to file cases against such businessmen under the Special Power Act, which has the provision of death penalty for the offenders.

The HC bench had earlier directed the BFSA to form a central food management coordination committee led by its chairman. It had asked the government agency to take representatives from the respective ministries in line with Section 15 of the Food Safety Act. But the BFSA is yet to form the committee in accordance with the Food Safety Act-2013.

The BFSA's failure to form the committee also met with sharp criticism by the court.

Advocate Manzill Murshid stood for the petitioner, Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB), while deputy attorney general ABM Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar represented the state. Besides, barrister Faridul Alam stood for the BFSA and Barrister Sarkar MR Hassan stood for the BSTI.

On the other hand, the HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and KM Hafizul Alam, during a suo moto rule hearing, wanted to know the names and particulars of the companies and firms that are producing and supplying milk and curd in Dhaka without having any license and asked BSTI to submit a report before it by July 15 in this regard.

On May 15, the HC had issued a serious warning, saying that the companies and individuals responsible for adulterating milk and curd would not be spared and must be punished.

None will be allowed to play ducks and

drakes with people’s lives and health as safe food is a fundamental right of people, the court said. “How will the nation be built if health of its future generation is not sound?” it added.

Making the observation, the HC sought reports detailing the names and relevant particulars of companies and persons responsible for adulterating raw cow milk, curd and fodder as well as the steps being taken against them. However, BSTI officer Nurul Islam and its lawyer Sarkar MR Hasan insisted that the BSTI is not responsible for the supervision of companies operating without licences. They said the BSTI is only responsible for supervising 18 licenced companies and claimed that milk and curd from only these companies are sold at high-end shops.

But the HC bench showed a report saying that milk and curd of unlicenced companies are also sold at high-end shops in Gulshan. “Your statement is not correct,” the HC bench said. Islam and Hasan claimed that supervising producers without licences was the task of the Department of Agricultural Extension and the Department of Livestock Services. But the HC expressed dissatisfaction at the response.

Earlier, on February 10, various national dailies published reports citing survey findings on the presence of pesticides, antibiotic and bacteria in raw cow milk.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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