Crackdown launched against substandard food

The National Consumer Rights Protection (NCRP) directorate on Saturday launched a crackdown against substandard and adulterated food in different places of capital Dhaka as per High Court directives. At least seven teams of the Directorate of NCRP conducted the raids in different areas of the capital. The main team led by deputy director Manzur Mahmud Shahriar, Directorate of NCRP, raided Karwan Bazar, Dhanmondi and New Market areas.

Apart from the Directorate of NCRP, officials of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), and representatives of Home and Commerce ministries also took part in the drives. Earlier, the HC ordered authorities concerned to remove 52 food products, proven to be substandard in the test conducted by Bangladesh Standard Testing Institution (BSTI), from markets across the country.

As most of products were seen selling at different kitchen markets and grocery shops in capital Dhaka, and elsewhere in the country under the very nose of the authorities concerned, on May 14 the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) asked companies concerned to withdraw their substandard food products of different brands from the market within Saturday (May 18).

During the drives, no product branded as substandard earlier was found in most shops. However, the teams seized some substandard products like Molla salt and doodle brand product noodles from the New Market and Karwan Bazar areas. “These products had been stored at different shops in New Market and Karwan Bazar areas,” deputy director Manzur Mahmud Shahriar told reporters.

The team fined Nasir Store Tk 10,000 at Karwan Bazar and Jabbar Store and Bismillah Store Tk 2,000 each at New Market for not removing substandard food from their business establishment after the HC order. Market traders informed that the manufacturer companies’ products that are restricted to sale, have been taken away from the market by the latter.

New market trader Mushfiq said, most of the substandard products were removed from the market, but some products remained that the manufacturer companies were supposed to take back. However, some shops where substandard products were found were warned verbally while some shops were fined small amounts.

In this regard, Manjur Mohammad Shahriar said, BSTI and Safe Food Authority have advertised in print and electronic media not to purchase these substandard food products. Traders now cannot show any excuse for keeping these items. ‘In most places we did not find these food products, we will have a meeting on Sunday with the business committee, after this if these products are found at any shop, they will be brought under punishment as per the law,’ he added.

Moreover, the manufacturer companies have to destroy the products, they are taking back from the market, in front of the concerned authorities. Besides, the authority concerned is continuing surveillance so that these products cannot be remarketed by any other means. As per the authorities’ surveillance, they found some foreign products not approved by the proper authorities, for which two organisations were fined Tk 10000. Apart from this, for violation of consumer rights, 14 organisations were fined Tk 61000.