Adulterated food commodities including Vermicelli (Semai) have flooded the city markets and its outskirts defying the rules and regulations of food production as the holy Eid-ul-Fitr is getting nearer.
As the demand of vermicelli is very high in this time, for extra profit many businessmen illegally establish adulterant vermicelli factories before every Eid.
There is a complaint that the unauthorized mill owners have been carrying out such an illegal trade for long by managing some dishonest officials of the concerned authorities. As a result, nobody dares to open mouth against the adulterated food producers.
It is learnt from certain pockets that sub-standard vermicelli like Sada Semai, Lachchha Semai and Ghee Bhaza Semai are being manufactured in so-called vermicelli factories just behind the bakeries and the confectioneries in the city and all the upazila headquarters.
The traders produce vermicelli in very dirty environment, even the workers do not wear any gloves in their hands and legs. The quality of the goods is also very low. Low quality flour, burned soya bean oil, damaged ghee etc are used to produce vermicelli, said Arifur Rahman, a seasonal vermicelli factory worker. He said that every day they are produced 80 to 100 baskets of vermicelli. The unclean bamboo sticks were being used to dry up the vermicelli.
It is reported that most of these vermicelli factories have neither government’s permission nor BSTI’s approval. Thereafter, this vermicelli is sold in the city and transported to some neighbouring districts like Bagerhat, Satkhira, Narail and remote upazilas of the district by vans, trawlers and trucks.
This correspondent in a recent visit some factories in the city found that huge quantities of vermicelli were being produced in dirty location at the mill. Besides, the vermicelli was being dried up under the open sky, where different types of birds and animals especially crows, dogs, cats and chickens were available.
Experts are of the opinion that flooding the market with adulterated vermicelli continued unabated posing serious health hazard to the consumers.
Dr ASM Abdur Razzak, Civil Surgeon of Khulna district, said, the adulterant vermicelli is highly dangerous for human health. He also said that children are the worst sufferers of the different toxic chemicals and textile dyes used to colour vermicelli that damages kidney and liver of a person.
Md Abdul Mannan, Director, BSTI of Khulna Region, said that they regularly conduct checking adulteration from the beginning of Ramadan. They have also sealed some illegal factories and fined the traders for producing harmful goods.
Advocate AFM Mohsin, Convener of Khulna Nagorik Samaj, alleged, “Sometimes, mobile court imposes fine as well as cautions the owners and staff of some of these factories but not enough for correction. But the situation became the same after 10 to 12 days of the drives.”