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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 146
December 5, 2009

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Law Review

Objectives and significance of the Pure Food Ordinance 1959

Syed Gouseuzzamn Haideri Ali

Pure Food Ordinance 1959 was promulgated to ensure food safety throughout Bangladesh. It is the main food law of the country. The purpose and objectives of Pure Food Ordinance 1959 are as follows:

To control the manufacture and sale of food which are for human consumption
The Ordinance prohibits the sale of food not of proper nature, substance or quality.

Section-6 (1) provides, no person shall directly or indirectly and whether by himself or by any other person acting on his behalf:
(a) Manufacture or sell any food which is adulterated, or
(b) Sell to the prejudice of the purchaser any article of food, which is not of the nature, substance or quality demanded, by the purchaser.

Section-6A prohibits the sale or use of poisonous or dangerous chemicals and intoxicated food colour.
No person shall directly or indirectly and whether by himself or by any other
Person acting on his behalf-
(a) Use any poisonous or dangerous chemicals or ingredients or additives or substances like calcium carbide, formalin, pesticides (DDT), PCBS oil etc, or intoxicated food colour or flavouring matter in any food which may cause injury to human body.

Section-7 Prohibits the manufacture or sale of food not of proper standard or purity.

Section-18 Prohibits the use of false labels.

To establish pure food court to enforce and interpret the provisions of this ordinance
Section-41 provides for the establishment of Pure Food Court. The government may establish as many food courts, as it deemed necessary in each district and in metropolitan areas. The purpose for establishment of food court is to provide better enforcement and to give better effect of the food laws which are provided in the Pure Food Ordinance 1959.

To establish national food safety advisory council to advice the government and to administer food laws throughout the country
The National Food Safety Advisory Council is an executive and advisory body.
Section-4A provides for the establishment of National Food Safety Advisory Council. Its main functions are as follows:
* To advise regarding overall food safety in Bangladesh
* To recommend for proper implementation of this Ordinance
* To give guidelines regarding the standard and quality control of food with a view to ensure their purity, safety and proper nutritional value
* To advise regarding technical matters arising out of the administration of this Ordinance
* To guide regarding the development of man-power service and facilities required for ensuring safety, quality and purity of food for human consumption
* To propose about the policies and strategies related to food safety and quality control

The Pure Food Ordinance 1959 is the most important and central food law of Bangladesh. It is in the apex of all other food laws. It is one of the most important among the consumer-oriented laws. The Pure Food Ordinance 1959 has a great significance. It is trying to provide and ensure pure and wholesome food for all citizens of Bangladesh.

The Pure Food Ordinance 1959 should be more effective. In order to be more effective, it should have the following amendments:

(1) Sodium cyclamate should be banned in section-6A and in section-44. It should be banned in section-6A in clause (a) and (b) and in the table of section-44, in column-2 of section -6A. The word sodium cyclamate should be added after the word 'formalin' and 'coma' and after the word 'sodium cyclamate' a coma should be inserted.
(2) Director General of Food should be included as member of the National Food Safety and Advisory Council under section-44A (1). In section-44A (1) after the letter 'K' and before the letter 'L' 'KK' should be added where the Director General of Food should be placed.

The Pure Food Ordinance 1959 should be modernized and upgraded. In order to be modern and upgraded law it should accommodate the international standards and guidelines like CAC and HACCP.

CAC (Codex Alimentary Commission) is an international body. It was established by FAO in 1961 by the CAC (Codex Alimentarius Commission) Act 1961.Codex standard and guidelines ensure that food product must not be harmful to the consumer and can be traded safely between the member countries. CAC standard ensure food safety and hygiene control at all steps of food productions and transactions. CAC principles follow the monitoring of entire food chain i.e. from primary production to final consumer.

So the Pure Food Ordinance 1959, by adopting the principles and guidelines of CAC, can ensure food safety and hygiene control at all steps of food productions and transactions. It will be able to ensure food safety from farm to dining table.

HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) is a tool to measure hazards and establish control systems and preventive measures from preliminary level to final level of production of a food-processing centre. The Pure Food Ordinance 1959, should also adopt the guidelines of HACCP in food hygiene.

The Pure Food Ordinance 1959 is the most important among the food laws of Bangladesh. So, after going through necessary amendments and by adopting the international standards like CAC and HACCP, it can become an ideal and effective food code of the country.

The writer is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.


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