Monday, October 21, 2019 | ePaper

Ensure safe food for the nation

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LOCAL media yesterday reported that Chattogram Customs House has recently seized 2,717 tonnes of imported fish and poultry feed containing hazardous ingredients like meat and bone meal (MBM), animal bones and by-products of pigs, which can cause cancer in humans.   The Commerce Ministry banned the import and sale of MBM on December 26 last year following a report of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority.  Such meal is banned in the US, the UK, Brazil and Canada but there is no bar on exporting it to other countries. In Asia, Bangladesh is the third country to have banned the import of MBM after India (2001) and Thailand (2017), the report said. It is learnt that the feed imported from Vietnam, Belgium, Thailand and Indonesia were seized in July and August based on chemical test reports of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh and Poultry Resource and Training Centre. What's extremely shocking is that Customs authorities previously released several thousand tonnes of such feed while chemical reports did not mention the presence of harmful ingredients.
Apart from it, the use of local tannery waste in poultry and fish feed also poses serious health risk for consumers as the hazardous waste has the possibility of directly entering the food chain. The consumption of tannery waste through fish and poultry might cause liver and kidney diseases, even cancer. The practice of using tannery waste for fish and poultry feed started around 10 years ago. A group of small traders in the country use raw tannery waste as ingredients and reportedly supply those to some feed factories across the country. However, when the authorities took hard stance against the tannery waste, the dishonest businessmen again started imported toxic feed from abroad. Here, some Customs officials are helping them.   
Meanwhile, food adulteration has also increased alarmingly over the last few years. Especially meat, fish, fruits, oil, vegetables, spices, bakery items and sweetmeats are being adulterated unscrupulously with hazardous chemicals by the dishonest businessmen.  These are also damaging vital human organs like liver, kidney and heart along with affecting children's mental and physical wellbeing. We must say government should take tough stance against the import of poisonous poultry feed and production of adulterated food in the country. 

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