Last year, 1 out of every 10 people faced severe sickness from eating adulterated food globally. Conclusively, such food on average kills about 4.2 lakh people a year, according to the WHO.
This information was shared in the main article of a seminar titled, 'Awareness on Safe Food Act, 2013 and Rules, Regulations and Media in Creating Public Awareness' hosted by Bangladesh Food Safety Authority on Tuesday in the capital’s InterContinental Hotel.
The keynote paper was presented by Dr Md Iqbal Rauf Mamun, Founding Member of Bangladesh Safe Food Authority and Professor of Chemistry Department, Dhaka University.
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder was present at the event as the chief guest.
The minister said that it was the need of the hour to ensure food security at all stages of the food chain from production to consumption. For this purpose, the Safe Food Act was enacted in 2013 - which came into force on February 1, 2015.
“The government has its efforts ongoing to create good habits for safe food production, processing, storage, marketing and consumption. Public awareness can make this effort more fruitful and successful. Media has to play a role in ensuring safe food for the people of the country,” he said.
He added that mobile laboratories are being set up in eight departments. As a result, it will be possible to inform the people whether food is safe by checking it at the upazila level.
The minister said, “A large testing laboratory is going to be set up in Narayanganj soon with the funding of JICA. This will make it easier to determine the quality of food and issue certificates. Everyone needs to play their role in ensuring safe food from their respective positions.”
Bangladesh Food Safety Authority Chairman Md Abdul Qayyum Sarkar presided over the function while Food Ministry Secretary Dr Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum and Channel I Director and News Editor Sheikh Siraj spoke as special guests.
Speaking as the special guest, the Food Secretary said that works to ensure safe food is progressing step by step. Awareness activities have already started in all the districts. If these are implemented, it will be easier to deliver safe food to the customers.
Sheikh Siraj said that farmers were unknowingly poisoning their food by using excessive pesticides. The fertility of the soil is also being destroyed due to the overuse of fertilizers. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and Livestock have to take joint action to raise awareness at the producer level.
Qayyum akso said, “Just as it would bring benefits to the society by providing objective news, false news would also have adverse effects on the society. The media can play a significant role in creating awareness among the people about food security and related laws, rules and regulations.”
The seminar was attended by officials from various government departments, representatives of print and electronic media and leaders of the Hotel Restaurant Owners Association.