Agencies must work together to ensure products supplied by companies is safe for consumption
Environmental bodies and advocacy groups observed that ministries concerned should have supported Dhaka University Prof ABM Faroque, and his recent research, that found the presence of antibiotics in pasteurized milk sold by seven popular brands.
Leaders and activists representing the organizations urged the government to test the milk – some of which have also been found to contain excessive amount of lead – at World Health Organization (WHO) approved laboratories, and take appropriate steps based on the results.
Leading environment groups came up with the recommendations at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) in Dhaka, on Wednesday.
Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa), Work for better Bangladesh Trust, Janouddak, Bangladesh Centre for Human Rights and Development (BCHRD), Subandhan Samajik Kolyan Songothon, Doctors for Health and Environment (Dhen), Poribesh Andolon Moncho, ASBD and Green Force all arranged the press event.
In a dramatic turn of events, Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) has now detected lead, a harmful heavy metal, and traces of cadmium, in pasteurized milk of 11 local brands.
The companies are Milk Vita (state-run), Aarong Milk, Pran Milk, Dairy Fresh, Igloo Milk, Farm Fresh, Aftab Milk, Ultra Milk, Ayran Milk, Pura Milk and Safe Milk – all registered with Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institution (BSTI).
Later, a subsequent second test by the Dhaka University researchers on the same samples reconfirmed their findings.
Prof ABM Faroque, director of Biomedical Research Centre at Dhaka University, led the research.
After several widely circulated media reports on his research finding, milk producing companies and the government criticized Prof ABM Faroque.
Speakers also demanded that BFSA must carry out tests on each and every food item available in the market to ensure food quality.
They advised the government to take steps in an effort to improve institutional capacity of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI).
The government authorities are also required to hold state-run-institutions accountable for their actions.
Bapa General Secretary Dr Lelin Chowdhury read out the written statements.