HC orders random testing of food products across Bangladesh
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HC orders random testing of food products across Bangladesh
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HC orders random testing of food products across Bangladesh

Dhaka, June 16 – The High Court on Sunday ordered the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) to inspect and re-examine food products at random throughout the year across the country with the help of other agencies to ensure the food quality.
The HC also observed that there are allegations of underhand dealings before tests and re-tests of food items. It was increased after the removal order of 52 substandard items from market last month, the HC bench said.
However, the HC bench warned that miscreants would be sent straight to prison instead of the ACC, if the court would find any proof of anybody’s involvement in underhand dealing.
The HC bench comprising Justice Sheikh Hasan Arif and Justice Rajik-Al Jalil came up with the observations while passing exemption order to Bangladesh Food Safety Authority Chairman Mahfuzul Haque.
The HC bench exempted him from the charge after he appeared before the HC bench in line with its previous order and offered unconditional apology seeking exemption from charge of contempt of court.
The HC bench also ordered the National Directorate of Consumer Rights Protection to open a hotline in two months to provide emergency services for consumers.
It also said that before the introduction of hotline, the authorities concerned has to provide the consumers with 24-hour emergency services, through a phone number of the directorate (01777753668), 333 in the Prime Minister’s Office and the national hotline 999.
All phone numbers, including the one of the National Directorate of Consumer Rights Protection, should be accessible for 24 hours, including weekends and holidays, the judge said adding the consumers should be informed of it.
The High Court summoned Bangladesh Food Safety Authority Chairman Mohammed Mahfuzul Haque for not implementing the order to confiscate or destroy the food products that failed the quality tests of BSTI.
Haque appeared before the court yesterday and sought unconditional apology. The court dismissed the rule exonerating him from contempt of court charge.
Haque must not disobey the court anymore and will continue the drive against adulterated food. As the Food Safety Authority mentioned its limited manpower, he will take assistance from other ‘government agencies’ to continue the drive against adulterated food, the HC bench said.
The High Court (HC) on May 12 directed the authorities concerned to immediately remove from the market 52 food products which are found substandard by Bangladesh Standard Testing Institution (BSTI).
On May 23, the HC rebuked the BFSA chairman, summoned him, and issued the contempt of court rule against him for not complying with its order to get 52 sub-standard food items off the shelves.
Barrister Shihab Uddin Khan stood for the petitioner Conscious Consumer Society (CCS), while Advocate AM Amin Uddin and Barrister Kamal Ul Alam stood for BFSA chairman, Barrister Faridul Alam stood for BFSA, Barrister Sarkar MR Hassan stood for BSTI, and Barrister Kamruzzaman Kochi stood for the DNCRP.
Earlier, a surveillance team of the BSTI had collected 406 samples of 27 types of popular food products from the market. These samples were tested in the BSTI lab. Out of these samples, the BSTI received the results of the tests for 313 samples. Out of 313 samples, the BSTI found 52 samples to be of substandard quality as they failed in the parameter tests. The BSTI released the test report on May 2, which was published in the media on May 3.
The products which were substandard included: Duncan Natural Drinking Water, ACI Coriander Powder, Danish Turmeric Powder, Pran Turmeric Powder, Pran Curry Powder, Madhuban Lacchii Shemai, Baghabari Special Ghee, Mollah Iodine Salt, Rupchanda Sesame Oil (Bangladesh Edible Oil), Well Food Lacchi Shemai, Madina Iodine Salt, Dada Super Iodine Salt, Sun Food Turmeric Powder, Teer Sesame Oil, Pushti Sesame Oil, Fresh Turmeric Powder, Mithai Lacchi Shemai, Mizan Drinking Water, and more.
However, samples of most of the 52 food items, which were previously found to be substandard by the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution, have passed a retest by the quality regulator.
The HC bench ordered the BSTI to inspect and re-examine food products at random throughout the year across the country with the help of other agencies to ensure the food qualities. – Staff Reporter

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