Monday, February 24, 2020 | ePaper

BSTI shatters people's trust

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THE Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution destroyed all the evidences relating to the prosecution of 61 companies accused of marketing 73 uneatable packaged food items last year. A Dhaka Court dealing with food standards and adulteration made the revelation on Monday. The court also said that BSTI intentionally provided false information to the government prosecutor to mislead the trials against the companies and deliberately framed innocent individuals to let real culprits go. When the prime role of BSTI is to protect consumers from adulterated food by controlling food production, the act simply goes against the mandated job of the regulatory body. The Bangladesh Food Safety Authority started filing cases due to BSTI's reluctance in prosecuting the sub-standard-food producers that sparked public outrage and prompted the High Court to intervene. The prosecutor informed the court that the BSTI destroyed all samples that had been tested at its laboratories last year. The court wondered how someone could be prosecuted without having any evidence. The court observed that as BSTI predetermined not to prosecute any company, they destroyed the evidence to provide them with clean chit.
The practice allows businessmen to go on committing crimes like marketing of uneatable foods causing irreversible damages to consumers' health. BSTI also covered the companies by producing innocent before the court to let go of the real culprits. Newspaper reports said the regulatory body prosecuted a grocery owner instead of prosecuting Rajshahi-based Amirul Traders for producing sub-standard chilli powder. At least six other instances are there in which the BSTI has furnished wrong information about the companies' marketing uneatable foods. Most of the companies returned to the market with their products in a week or so after facing a ban for not getting certifications from the BSTI. It's a vital question -- how all these 73 companies have improved the product qualities so fast.
Casual attitudes of the government in tackling wrong doings are not new. This policy usually inspires the bad people. What the BSTI has done is pure crime -- that shatters the people's trust.

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