A section of unscrupulous businessmen are busy in manufacturing sub-standard vermicelli in the port city ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr as the food item has a high demand in the day.
According to local sources, some of the factories are using unrefined palm oil and animal fat to produce Laccha vermicelli while hazardous chemicals and toxic colour were also used to make the food items.
SM Harunor Rashid, president of Chaktai Silpo and Traders Association said: “There are 10-12 vermicelli factories in Chaktai area where around 4,000 to 5,000 baskets are used to produce every Ramadan.”
“Bangla vermicelli is produced using flour and water and Laccha is produced with oil, flour sugar and water,” added Harun.
Most of the factories are seasonal while five to six workers have been working using only a machine during the Ramadan month.
Earlier around 19 to 20 factories had produced vermicelli at Chaktai in last year, said sources.
“Everyday around 20 to 25 baskets containing 30 to 35 Kg Bangla vermicelli are sold while each basket is sold at Tk1,200”, he added.
The factory owners are asked to maintain healthy condition during producing the food item at the factory, he also added.
In a recent visit in Rajakhali fire service area of Chaktai, the workers in several factories were seen making the vermicelli in grimy and dark environment.
The vermicelli was being dried in unhygienic condition in the rooftop of the factories.
A few factories locked the main entrance of the factory from outside fearing the mobile court drive.
However; the workers continued their works inside the factory to dodge the eyes of the law enforcers.
Seeking anonymity a seasonal vermicelli maker said a section of businessmen in the city bought the adulterated vermicelli and sell them tagging labels of renowned companies.
“But the trend is now almost low as many companies are now making only Bangla vermicelli”, added the person.
BSTI Assistant Director Md Mostaq Ahmed told Dhaka Tribune: “As Bangla vermicelli is used to make by seasonal factory for a certain time, it is not mandatory to take license from BSTI, however, the factory should take health and hygienic certificate issued by the Sanitary Inspector.”
Assistant Commissioner (AC) Tahmilur Rahman of Chittagong District Administration who led a number of mobile courts against food adulteration and ensure public safety recently said: “A mobile court had been conducted recently in Chaktai area to find out the irregularities of the vermicelli factory.”
“The mobile court, however, did not find any significant irregularities inside the factory,” he said.