‘Make food safety a social movement’

Staff Correspondent | Update:

Speakers at a discussion styled ‘Safe food for all’ organised by Prothom in association with USAID and chain-shop Shwapno at its Karwanbazar office in the capital. Photo: Syful Islam/Prothom Alo

Inadequate international standard accreditation labs and food testing facilities, and lack of awareness among farmers and consumers have made food safety a big challenge for Bangladesh.

The country is also failing to export food items to the European market due to lack of international standards in food safety, said discussants at a roundtable.

Prothom Alo organised a discussion at its office on ‘Safe food for all’ in cooperation with the chain shop Shwapno and USAID.

Speakers pointed out that though the government had drawn up the Safe Food Act-2013, enactment of laws relating to food safety, food adulteration and use of toxic pesticides remained a concern for the country.

Chairman of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque said, the government had placed emphasis on creating awareness among farmers, educating and training them to ensure food safety.

To inspire a healthy competition among different markets of the city, some would be given the status of ‘Healthy Market’ based on their performance, he added.

He also stressed to make food safety a social movement by including the private sector in government efforts.

Media personality and agriculture activist Shykh Seraj said, excessive and indiscriminate use of pesticides has damaged organic elements of the soil in our country.

He urged the government and private sector to focus on high yielding crops and greenhouse agriculture for the future.

Prof of Dhaka University’s chemistry department Dr Iqbal Rauf Mamun said, food security is a holistic approach. It should be checked at every level from the field to the wholesale market.

Executive director of ACI logistics limited Sabbir Hasan Nasir said, government bodies should stress participation of private sector representatives in decision making bodies to ensure food safety.

Senior vice president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kamrul Islam, private sector adviser of USAID Bangladesh Aniruddha Hom Roy, chief of party of agricultural value chain project of USAID Paul Bandick, Md Shahiduzzaman of Bangladesh Agricultural University, ICDDR,B’s Mustafa Mahfuz, food safety consultant Abhilash Gorhe, Shwapno’s head of business Md Mahdi Faisal and Saiful Islam, a farmer from Jhenidah, also spoke at the discussion.

Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Quayum moderated the roundtable.

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