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TIB urges effective implementation of laws for ensuring food safety

Immediate gazette notification of Safe Food Act 2013 was stressed for its effective implementation at the press launch of the study report titled “Ensuring Safe Food: challenges of governance and way forward”. Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) conducted the study and it was released before the media on 20th March 2014 at the Hotel Abakash in Dhaka. The report also said that absence of exemplary punishment for adulterators, legal bindings, coordination gap among authorities, city centered monitoring and inadequate manpower are the hindrances of governance in food sector of Bangladesh. Md Shahnur Rahman, Programme Manager, Research and Policy, TIB presented the findings of the study. Advocate Sultana Kamal, Chairperson, Board of Trustees; Dr Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director; Dr Sumaiya Khair, Deputy Executive Director and Mohammad Rafiqul Hassan, Director, Research and Policy were also present during the release.
Citing data of World Health Organisation (WHO), the report said around 45 lakh people are being affected every year in Bangladesh by consuming adulterated food. Reasons causing this hazard are limitations of current act and laws, lack of their implementation, absence of proper monitoring and lack of accountability mechanism.
According to the study the newly passed Safe Food Act 2013 was yet to be published through a gazette notification and hence not being implemented.


The study said, although the government has taken many positive steps to fight food adulteration, absence of an integrated food safety system is limiting the expected goal.

We demand formation of a safe food authority to reduce food adulteration. The culprits must be brought to book

TIB report also identified lack of coordination among 10 food adulteration prohibition related agencies and that move against food adulteration was mainly capital centric. According to the report, food adulterators manage food inspectors, field officers and custom officials with unethical transactions which ranges from 500-10000 Tk.
Executive Director of the TIB Iftekharuzzaman said: “We demand formation of a safe food authority to reduce food adulteration. The culprits must be brought to book.”
The report also revealed that there is lack of manpower in the departments responsible for ensuring safe food. 
Only 78 sanitary inspectors among a total of 370 are working under 319 municipalities and 11 city corporations. Also, 30 posts of the BSTI field officers under districts and divisional levels have remained vacant for a long time. In addition the infrastructures are not enough to tackle the grave situation of food adulteration. For example There is only one food court under Dhaka North City Corporation, which is not far beyond the need.. To overcome the governance challenged to ensure safe food, TIB placed sixteen point recommendations. Key recommendations include amendment of Safe Food Act 2013 and its quick implementation, introduce provision of taking legal actions by consumers, amendment of the Consumer Rights Protection Act 2009, and establishment of food courts at all districts and metropolitan cities.