Vol. 5 Num 558 Wed. December 21, 2005  
Front Page

Food Adulteration
Drive restarts next week

A regular mobile court resumes food drives next week to check adulteration of different food items after a halt of two months.

The government formed four special mobile courts on June 14 in the wake of a series of reports carried by The Daily Star on colossal food adulteration.

The mobile courts conducted massive drives in the city eateries and food shops and fined and imprisoned a good numbers of adulterators.

The government initiative had drawn a huge public attention and praise and the drives in no time spread elsewhere in the country.

Just before the Eid-ul-Fitr the government formed 35 special mobile courts to conduct such hygiene and anti-adulteration drives.

"This time it is going to be a regular mobile court, which will conduct drives in different food shops and eateries like before," said Magistrate Md Rokan Ud Doulah of the court.

Finding huge irregularities and unhygienic situation in the food sectors, the government has recently formulated a new law, the Pure Food Act, 2005.

The new law has the provision to fine the adulterators up to Tk 2 lakh from Tk 75,000 and jail the guilty for a maximum of three years.

"The mobile court will act under the new law," said the magistrate.

The recent food drives had brought some development in the food sector in the city, but most of the issues remain the same due to the halt.

Asked, different fish traders admitted the fish wholesalers are using formalin in fish to keep them fresh for long.

"We don't use chemicals in fish. It's the wholesalers who do it," said a fish trader of New Market asking not to be named.

The situations remain the same in the fruits and vegetables markets as well. The farmers are using chemicals in the vegetables and fruits so that they ripen quickly.

But some sweetmeat shops have changed their approaches, which is a good sign. The use of harmful textile dyes in the sweetmeat has sharply fallen. Besides, some food producing companies are mentioning the expiry dates on their products.

"All this is the contributions of the food drives," said the magistrate. Some reputed restaurants have improved their kitchens, he added.

However, the kitchens of the common roadside restaurants remain as filthy as before.

The staff of a Kathalbagan restaurant were found yesterday in filthy clothes. Stench was coming out of its kitchen.

The owner of the restaurant said no mobile court has ever visited his business. "The drives focus on the big restaurants and it is a matter of the rich," he observed.