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[June 27, 2014]
Green activists urge govt to ensure safe iftar items
(United News of Bangladesh Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dhaka, June 28 (UNB) Green activists have urged the government to take effective steps to ensure that safe iftar and food items are marketed in the holy month of Ramadan to protect people from serious health hazards.
The demand came from a human chain arranged by Poribesh Bachao Andolon (Poba) in front of Chawkbazar Shahi Mosque in the capital on Friday.
Poba secretary Engr Abdus Sobhan, Modern Club president Abul Hasnat, Green Mind Society president Amir Hossain, Bangladesh Peace Movement president Prof Kamal Ataur Rhman and Poba coordinator Atiq Morshed, among others, spoke at the programme.
The green activists said contaminated and adulterated food items flood the city markets during Ramadan. A section of unscrupulous traders, in their greed for windfall profit, uses various chemicals, including formalin, in fruits and fish to keep those fresh for long, which adversely affects human health.
Referring to experts' comments, they said there is no way to mislead people about formalin saying that a specific level of formalin is tolerable to human health. Formalin is not a preservative and it is very poisonous and a serious threat to public health.
Access to safe food is a right of consumers, but people are being deprived of their rights. Food adulteration and mixing chemicals in food is rampant in almost all food items - from baby food to vegetable and meat to fish, the green activists mentioned.
They said unless the government takes appropriate and effective steps, hapless people will have no other option but to take chemical-tainted food and fruits during the Ramadan, inviting various health problems.
The activists demanded enacting the proposed 'Formalin Control Bill 2014' without any provision allowing a certain level of formalin, taking an integrated move to ensure the sale of safe food, more stringent punishment, including hefty fines for those to be found responsible for food contamination, setting up a control room, and launching surprise raids on food warehouses and factories by anti-adulteration teams.
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