Exemplary action against substandard food sellers
The high court has ordered withdrawal of 52 food items sold in our local markets, ranging from mustard oil, to vermicelli to water and salt. Such a directive issued by the court is not surprising, since many food items available in the market are of low quality. However, what comes as a shock is that many of the poorly made food items are produced by well known and branded companies, selling food products for decades with a trusted brand name. The court directive must not go unheeded.
Many Bangladesh households depend on certain brands that have multi-million dollar operations with steady exports to overseas markets. When products from such companies are found to be of low quality, consumers have a right to feel cheated and outraged. For decades people have been buying food items with the brand names believing that they were getting the best in the country. Unfortunately, they were being hoodwinked.
Thankfully, the government, following the court directive has gone tough and to ensure a Ramadan free of suffering and health related ailments, has launched fresh and regular drives against adulterated food items. It's encouraging to note that mobile courts have been executing their drive against poor quality food with much enthusiasm and sincerity. The media has been covering their drive against unscrupulous food producers intensively during the past week.
Another dark side of substandard food, the big companies which advertise their products in slick TVCs featuring well known models and actors need to be questioned whether they are aware of this shocking reality. However the recently banned 52 food items are such widely sold products in the market that many consumers are buying them without even an inkling of suspicion.
Regrettably, these are causing grave harm to health and from the point of producer-consumer relation, deceiving the latter. The companies involved must be asked to explain why some of their items are found to be inferior.
Food authorities concerned should also look into the ready to eat meat segment of the market -- where raw meat, often marinated with sauce plus spices -- is sold to the buyer under the 'just fry and eat' banner. There have been reports that the meat sold is often stale or at the pre-rotting stage.
In addition the court can think of summoning quality control teams of these brands. Unless the authorities are strict, low grade food items will continue to flood the markets. While BSTI deserves praise, a culture should start to introduce complaint sections at all super shops about products on offer. These complaints should also be permitted to be submitted on line to BSTI so instant action is taken.