Mobile courts continue drive against food adulterationSadia Afrin
Against the background of serious public concern over tainted foods that pose dangerous health risks, the Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institution continued its anti-adulteration drive in the capital, punishing dishonest traders with jail terms and fines.
The BSTI, in cooperation with the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, has conducted 30 drives, filed 72 cases against 72 enterprises and fined adulterators Tk 48,55,000 from July 22 to July 30.
Three companies were sealed off and at least six persons jailed for different terms in this period.
Four executive magistrates from BSTI, DC office and DMP conduct the drives which start from deputy commissioner’s office everyday.
BSTI’s deputy director Mohammad Saiful Islam said that they wanted to conduct more drives during the Ramadan but they could not do so as BSTI does not have its own magistrate.
In reply to a question Saiful said that during the current drive they usually test iftar items such as jilapi, halim, curd, ghee, yogurt, puffed rice, lassa shemai, drinking water and soft drinks along with other food items.
They also inspect the rooms in which food items are prepared and sold.
The BSTI official said that unscrupulous traders mix poisonous chemicals such as formalin, carbide and industrial dyes with food items, seriously endangering public health.
The highest punishment for these offences is fine of Tk 1,00,000 and four years in jail, he added.
The Cabinet committee on law and order, at its 11th meeting on July 24, asked the concerned authorities to start combing operations against those who use injurious chemicals in food items which can cause deadly diseases including cancer.
The BSTI has been operating four mobile courts everyday in Dhaka city to prevent the sale of tainted foods and drinks by dishonest traders.
The drives are being conducted in accordance with the BSTI Ordinance 1985, BSTI (Amendment) Act 2003, Bangladesh Pure Food Ordinance 1959 and Bangladesh Pure Food (Amendment) Act 2005.
BSTI officials said that last year they conducted 1,304 drives, formed 660 surveillance teams, filed 1,557 cases and fined guilty parties Tk 3.56 crore across the country.
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