One of these basic needs is food. In addition to food, basic human needs are clothing, shelter, education and medical care.
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 necessary for good health. But if there is adulteration in the food, the body or the health is not good.
Now the question is: what do we mean by adulterated food? Foods which are not pure or which are mixed with various chemical or non-essential substances to achieve a harmful purpose, which are harmful to human health and life, we can call adulterated food.
We see that the food is adulterated in various ways. Formalin is fed to fish and vegetables in the raw market using various techniques. Fish and vegetables are given formalin. Formalin is applied from the place of fishing. The task is easily accomplished by injecting large fish and dipping the 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 mixed with toxic chemicals. These chemicals are used to ripen fruit and prevent rotting. Calcium carbide is used to ripen unripe fruits and more alkaline textile dyes are used to give them vivid colors.
Not only that, meat, baby food, jellies, pickles and everything in between are adulterated. Instead of salt, urea is mixed into puffed rice. Melamine is mixed with milk. Color enhancing chemicals are used in candy. 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. The bakery also uses a variety of chemicals to keep the food produced fresh.
Although the production of energy drink and juice factories is supposed to be done continuously on automotive machinery, all the work is done at the hammer.
In 1994, the United States Environmental Protection Agency reported that formalin caused cancer of the lungs and pharynx. In 2004, the World Health Organization accused formalin to be the cause of throat cancer.
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 kidneys, liver function and asthma.
The diseases that most affect people due to adulterated foods are allergies, asthma, skin disease, vomiting, headache, food poisoning, loss of appetite, high blood pressure, 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 increases and the pressure on limited food increases, unscrupulous traders tend to increase the quantity or expiration of food by adulterating it.
There are also other factors responsible for food adulteration, such as the expectation of making more profit, lack of supervision, lack of proper ethics of law enforcement, lack of transport and storage of food, trying to get buyer’s attention in anyway.
Food adulteration has now become an epidemic in Bangladesh. Anyone involved in such acts can be called silent killers.
Food adulteration is more prevalent in developing countries than in developed countries. The most unfortunate thing is that while the developed countries are constantly trying to purify the food, the unscrupulous traders in Bangladesh adulterate the food with various techniques and cause the disease to spread slowly and slowly to the human body.
It also hinders the creation of human resources. It should not be forgotten that the creation of qualified human resources is not possible without physical and mental well-being.
Due to the lack of adequate and consistent measures in Bangladesh to control food adulteration, unscrupulous traders continue to adulterate. Therefore, in order to prevent adulteration in food, existing laws should be implemented swiftly and, if necessary, laws should be amended accordingly.
The proper implementation of the Consumer Rights Protection Act 2009, the Clean Food Ordinance 1959 (amended 2015) and the Food Safety Act 2013 should be ensured. Campaigns against food adulteration must be continued through mobile courts. Not only fines but also exemplary punishments such as legal imprisonment must be ensured in order to reap lasting benefits.
Various organizations, including BSTI, the Association for the Protection of Consumer Rights and environmental organizations, should play a leading role in this regard. The print and electronic media, under the auspices of the government and the traders association, must step up campaigns against adulteration of food in the public interest.
In order not to be silent, civil society must play a particular role in this regard. Necessary monitoring must be taken so that various imported chemicals, including formalin, cannot be used in food. In addition, it is important to control all activities from production to delivery to the consumer. Strict policies must be formulated to control the quality of food.
There is a need to formulate an integrated strategy against food adulteration by eliminating the lack of coordination through mutual communication of the agencies concerned, including the Ministry of Food.
What is most needed is to build a social movement against food adulteration by raising awareness. The people of Bangladesh will live a long time consuming pure food like a developed country, and will not die consuming adulterated food, it is the expectation of all of us.
The author is Assistant Professor, Department of Management, Sankuchail Degree College, Burichang, Cumilla. [emailÂ protected]