Special lab to check food adulteration: PM

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Dhaka, Feb 03: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said the government will set up a specialised laboratory in the country to check food adulteration.“A specialised laboratory for food testing is urgently needed and we’ll set up that lab,” she said, UNB reported.

The Prime Minister said this while addressing a programme marking the National Food Safety Day 2019 at Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh (KIB).

The theme of the day this year is ‘Sustho-SabolJati Chai, Pushtisommoto Nirapod Khadder Bikolpo Nai’ (Need a Healthy Nation, There is no Alternative to Nutritious, Safe Food).

Sheikh Hasina said there will be a central laboratory for food testing while its branches will be established in all divisions of the country “so that we can test any food at any place at once whether there’s anything harmful and adulteration in the food or not.”

The Prime Minister put emphasis on the awareness of people about adulteration of food.

“If people remain aware about food adulteration, no one will be able to cheat on them” she said.

Hasina said the government will do whatever is needed to stop food adulteration.

Saying that the adulteration of food is a bad character of some people, Hasina said this should be stopped. “The anti-adulteration drive is going on, this will continue.”

She mentioned that the government formed the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority with representatives from all ministries concerned to conduct the anti-adulteration drive extensively.

Regarding the shortage of workforce in the Authority, the Prime Minister assured them of taking effective steps to mitigate the problem.

The Prime Minister said the government has been successful in conducting anti-terrorism drive while the drives against drugs and corruption are on. “I think food adulteration is one kind of corruption and common people are the worst sufferers for this.”

Sheikh Hasina said the government has ensured food security in the country through various types of social safety net programmes. “I’ll ask the Food Ministry to find out families who don’t have food at their homes — whatever be the costs — we’ll ensure their food security.”

Referring to the establishment of modern silos in the country, the Prime Minister said the existing food storage capacity in the country is 21 lakh metric tons and the government wants to increase it to 27 lakh metric tons.

Besides, steps have been taken to develop storages with the local initiatives of farmers to face any challenges during disaster, she added.

The Prime Minister also underscored the need for the proper management of maintaining supply chain of foods like various allowances being provided by the government to ensure availability of food for particularly the poor and distressed people.

Hasina said the government not only achieved success in preserving food in storages but also worked properly to reach those to people in time of need.

She said the National Food Policy Action Plan and the First State Level Investment Plan on Agriculture, Food Safety and Nutrition Plan have been formulated to ensure safe food for all.

Besides, the Second State-level Investment Plan (2016-2020) considering the development of nutrition-sensitive food system has also been formulated in line with the 7th Five Years’ Plan aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Prime Minister said the government also put emphasis on ensuring access of women and children of extremely poor population to food to achieve a hunger-free world by 2030 set by the UN.

Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque, Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder and Bangladesh Food Safety Authority chairman Mohammad MahfuzulHoque also spoke at the programme, chaired by Food secretary Sahabuddin Ahmed.

The Prime Minister also distributed prizes among the winners of essay competition marking the day, and formally inaugurated the National Food Safety Day Fair.