Stop food adulteration: PM

Publish: 12:45 PM, February 3, 2019 | Update: 12:45:PM, February 3, 2019

DHAKA -Describing adulteration of food as one kind of “corruption”, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said this ill practice must be stopped at any cost to save the life of the people. “We earned a huge success in anti-terrorism drive. We are also continuing our operation against corruption, and adulteration of food is one sort of graft,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina added: “Our drive against the adulteration of food is going on and it will continue. We don’t want the people of the country to be affected by poisoning of food.”

The premier was addressing a function as the chief guest on the occasion of the National Food Safety Day-2019 at the Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh at Farmgate here this morning.

She said adulteration of food is a bad habit by character of some people, nothing else. “It must be stopped (at any cost),” she said, adding the people are being seriously affected by consuming the poisonous food.

Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzak and Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumdar were present in the function as the special guests. Food Secretary Shahabuddin Ahmed presided over the function, while chairman of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority Md Mahfuzul Haque delivered the welcome address.

Putting emphasis on creating mass awareness against adulteration of food, the prime minister said nobody has any right to destroy the life of the people by cheating with them.

“Why you will sell adulterated food items … let you sell better products and if you want to make good profit you can do this. What will you do, do in a better way. Nobody has a right to destroy the life of the people by deceiving them,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the people must be aware adequately about selling of adulterated and rotten food in hotels, restaurants and shops. “Citizens’ awareness is very much necessary and if they are aware about it nobody will be able to cheat with them,” she said, adding that the government will do whatever is necessary in this regard.

Highlighting her government’s strides for ensuring food security for all, the prime minister said the aim of the government is that nobody suffers for food.

“We’re working to build a beggar-free Bangladesh and we’re distributing food free of cost among the distressed people as our goal is nobody suffers for food,” she said.

In this connection, the prime minister asked the Food Ministry to find out whether there are any people having no food in their houses. “Find out such people … we will give as much amount of money required for it,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has constituted the National Food Safety Authority to step up the anti-adulteration drive. Referring to shortage of manpower in the authority, the premier said steps will be taken to solve the problem.

The premier said her government is taking steps to continue anti- adulteration drive in all spheres. “We will take more measures to this end in future,” she said.

The premier placed emphasis on establishing special food laboratories to test food by proper methods and said the government will set up such labs. “There will be a branch of such a laboratory in every division alongside a central laboratory so that foods can be tested at any places,” she said.

Calling upon the people to change their food habit, the prime minister said they will have to take balanced food to ensure their nutrition.

“It’s not necessary to consume a huge amount of rice … you’ll have to eat more vegetables side by side with fish and egg so that the food is balanced one,” she said, adding it will ensure their nutrition.

Sheikh Hasina also urged the people to try to lead a healthy life by maintaining hygiene in their houses. “Whatever food you will take, will not work if you remain unhygienic,” she said.

Pointing out distribution of food free of cost among the distressed people, the premier said her government has taken steps to reach food to the people’s doorsteps side by side with boosting production.

“We’ve also taken projects for ensuring nutrition of the people,” she said. Sheikh Hasina said the government has taken measures for preserving food alongside increasing production. “Our capacity of food stock has raised to 21
lakh MT as we constructed a number of modern food godowns and silos in the last few years,” she said, adding steps are underway to raise the capacity to 27 lakh MT.

The prime minister said the country’s northern region was freed from the curse of monga (seasonal famine) as her government has ensured food and nutrition security of the people of the region.

“Once there was a common phenomenon of monga in Rangpur, Gaibandha, Kurigram and other districts of the region. But that days have gone as we’ve improved the living standard of the people of the region by ensuring their
food and nutrition,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has given utmost importance to research to boost food production. “The people of the country are now getting its benefit,” she said. The premier once again expressed gratitude to the people for reelecting the Awami League through the December 30 polls.

“I’m grateful to you for the confidence and trust that you kept in us through mandate … we will uphold the dignity of vote by ensuring food security and making Bangladesh as a developed and prosperous country,” she said.

Earlier, the prime minister handed over prizes among the winners of the essay competition arranged on the occasion of the National Food Safety Day- 2019.