Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Chemical laced fruits flood Sylhet markets

Sylhet Bureau :
Sales of adulterated and chemically treated seasonal fruits, including mangoes, litchi, banana and blackberry are rampant in the Sylhet city due to lack of monitoring and anti-adulteration drives.
A section of unscrupulous traders is applying various chemicals, including formalin for ripening fruits and make fruits look fresh.
'The unscrupulous traders are selling chemically treated seasonal fruits to the consumers due to inadequate monitoring,' said Jamil Chowdhury, president of Consumers Association of Bangladesh Sylhet.  
People involved in food adulteration are not being punished as the government is yet to launch adequate number of mobile courts to prevent such crimes, he added.
He said the traders are using different chemicals and methods for ripening and preserving fruits and food items, and it is difficult to detect such foul play through regular inspections.
Besides, the orchard owners use different types of hormone, pesticide, fungicide and sulfur in their fruit trees including mangoes, banana and litchi to boost production, sources said.
Locals said farmers spray over 20 types of chemicals on mango trees since they begin blossoming. Summer is the high season for mango which is called the king of fruits.
Various seasonal fruits like mango, jackfruit, litchi, blackberry, watermelon, Sun Jewel Melon (Bangi) and pineapple are being sold in the city, but most of the consumers are not aware about the chemical contamination of those fruits.Many alleged that traders taint mangoes and other fruits with deadly toxins to ripen or preserve them, causing serious risk to human health.
Many conscious people said they are not buying watermelon, mangoes, litchi and other seasonal fruits fearing that those are chemically treated or artificially ripen.
Rafiqul Islam, a private service holder, said he collected mangoes directly from a relative's orchard to avoid adulterated fruits. 'But it's difficult to collect all kinds of fruits directly from a trustworthy orchard,' he added.
Deputy Director of BSTI Sylhet Eng. Shofi Ullah Khan told that they have started collecting seasonal fruits from the market for examining.
'We will soon start drive against the adulterated fruits after getting the lab test result of the collected samples,' he informed.
ASP of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)-9 Main Uddin of told that they have been conducting drives against fruit adulteration in the city on the basis of information.
He also said they are conducting regular drives against adulterated fruits in different markets in Sylhet city.