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Food safety imperative

National Food Safety Day was observed on Sunday (February 1) across the country with a call to prevent food adulteration and ensure safe food for all. This year’s theme of the day was ‘Sobai mile hath melai, nirapod khaddo nischit chai’ (Let us all join hands we want assurance of safe food). It may be well recalled that the World Health Day-2015 was observed with the theme: ‘From Farm to Plate, Make Food Safe’. Almost five years have elapsed, but that theme has not yet been materialized in our country. The situation has rather deteriorated over the years and people are now exposed to food poisoning, contamination and other health hazards due to unsafe food. Food adulteration has now been the biggest hurdle towards ensuring secure and safe food for the people. World Health Day is observed in our country every year with too many commitments to improve the health status of people, albeit without success. And without ensuring safe food for all, the health sector is bound to degenerate into a hopeless fiasco. The law-enforcement agencies conduct drives at different times against the crooked shop owners or restaurants and fine them. The Directorate of national Consumers’ Rights Protection (DnCRP) previously conducted mobile courts against a large number of enterprises including super-shopping malls and some well-known restaurants for selling date-expired food items and unsafe food which affected consumers’ rights. But there was not a jolt of a glimmer of hope for the suffering consumers that they would be relieved of the menace of adulterated and contaminated foodstuffs. The silver lining for safe food faded time and again and proved to be, as though, elusive as food frauds are continuing their malpractices and our law enforcers do not manifest that much strong stance against the polluters of foodstuffs. Occasional crackdowns on perpetrators were not quite square with what the people desired, because the crooked traders took no time to resort to their old practice as soon as the drive against them is over and the consumers have to bear the brunt indirectly of the punishment inflicted on them. If they are fined, they exorbitantly hike the price of the low-quality foodstuffs instantly. As there is no alternative to the availability of nutritious and safe food to make the present and future generation healthy and work worthy, it is very urgent to create mass awareness against unsafe food. We hope that all concerned especially the safe food department will play an effective role to gear up more vigilance against food adulteration. Besides, draconian action against the errant and crooked food and fruit traders should be taken under the National Food Security Act.

Editorial/The News Today, Bangladesh

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