The High Court Division on Monday directed the government to form an independent committee of experts for investigation into marketing of unsafe pasteurized milk across the country.
The court also directed the secretaries of the ministries of food and health as well as the director general of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution to submit the probe report to it within one month.
The executive director of the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh was also directed to submit ICDDR,B’s research finding that over 75 per cent of pasteurized milk in the markets was unsafe.
A bench of Justice Zubayer Rahman Chowdhury and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir in a ruling asked governmental authorities to explain in two weeks why their failure to ensure supply of safe pasteurized milk would not be declared illegal.
As respondents, secretaries of the ministries of food and health, the health services director general, the BSTI director general, ICDDR,B’s executive director and the inspector general of police were asked to reply to the ruling within two weeks.
The court set June 27 for the next hearing.
The ruling and the directives were issued by the High Court Division after hearing a public interest litigation writ petition of Supreme Court lawyer Md Tanvir Ahmed.
The petitioner had prayed for an order to stop production and marketing of unsafe pasteurized milk.
At the hearing, he submitted that the ICDDR,B found 75 per cent of milk samples unsafe for consumption.
He said that the ICDDR.B had tested in its labs 438 milk samples it had collected from the producers’ cold storage facilities, as well as restaurants in 18 upazilas in Bogra, Gaibandadha, Nilphamari, Dinajpur, Joypurhat, Rangpur and Sirajganj.
He said that the ICDDR, B also tested 95 samples it had collected from different shops in the capital and Bogra.
He submitted that the ICDDR,B’s lab tests showed that fresh milk samples contained 72 per cent coliform bacteria and 57 per cent faecal coliform bacteria.
He submitted that he felt aggrieved his own life and the life of his two-year old daughter were at risks as regular consumers of pasteurized milk.
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