Food and consumer rights regulators on Sunday announced that most of the 52 substandard food products had been completed but the production and selling of many of them continue.
Bangladesh Food Safety Authority, Directorate of Consumer Rights Protection and Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution as well as a majority of the manufacturers of the substandard products said that the recall had been completed.
‘ALL the companies withdrew their substandard products except four or five small ones in the outlying districts,’ DNCRP director general Shafiqul Islam Laskar told reporters at his office in the morning after holding a meeting with the producers of the substandard food products.
Laskar abruptly closed the press briefing without taking many questions.
‘Action would be taken against those who did not carry out our orders,’ he said before abruptly ending the news briefing.
He said that all the companies based in the capital and the nearby industrial districts attended the meeting and reported that they fully withdrew their substandard products.
Within minutes Rapid Action Battalion mobile court by executive magistrate Sarwoer Alam raided the factory of Baghabari Special Ghee Company at Goran and found in production though its production was suspended.
Sarwoer told New Age that none from the Baghabari Special Ghee Company attended the meeting called by DNCRP.
On Sunday, Bghabari company produced 396 litre of ghee that was packed in 33 cartons ready for shipment to the market.
Each carton was packed with 24 containers each of which contained 500 ml of ghee.
The Baghabari company did not suspend production as ordered, said Sarwoer.
Sarwoer said he seized a factory register showing that it continued with production and distribution ignoring the order issued by the High Court Division on May 12.
He said that five days later the BSTI also issued an order to the Baghabari company to suspend production and sales.
Ghee produced by Baghabari was found unfit for consumption on five counts.
The BSTI cancelled licenses for the production of nine substandard food products.
The BSTI also suspended the licenses of 43 food products five days after the High Court Division directed the regulators to ensure an immediate recall of all the 52 substandard food products from the market.
The court also directed the regulators to take punitive action against the errand companies.
But the BSTI never visited the factories of the errand companies to see whether or not its order had been followed.
On Sunday, the second day brief market monitoring, the BSTI visited the DNCC market at Mohakhali and some of the shops at the Karwan Bazar Wholesale Market and seized 443 kg of substandard ACI Salt, 12 kg of substandard Molla Salt and about one kg substandard Pran curry powder in small packs.
On the first day, the BSTI seized 300 kg of ACI salt and 133 kg of Molla salt mostly from groceries at Uttara, Mouchak, Maghbazar, Malibagh and Khilgaon.
At the news briefing at DNCRP office, BSTI certification marks wing director SM Ishaque Ali reiterated that neither production nor sale of the substandard products would be allowed any more.
‘The sale of none of the substandard products would be allowed until the errand companies improve their quality,’ he said.
BSTI’s monitoring teams said that they found that substandard products were still sold at groceries.
Neither the markets in the capital nor in the outlying districts are monitored by the food and consumer rights regulators.
BFSA member Mahbub Kabir told journalists at DNCRP office that due to manpower shortage BFSA cannot oversee the markets in the capital and in the outlying districts.
At least 30 of the 52 substandard food products are made and sold in the outlying districts where BSTI does not enforce food standards.
Mahbub said that the BFSA would file cases against all the errand firms to comply with the directive of the High Court Division.
And at the next hearing on May 23, BFSA would report compliance to the High Court Division, he said.
The manufacturers are under instruction to recall mustard oil, honey, laccha semai, chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, fermented milk, chanachur, biscuits, chips, flour, noodle, drinking water in jars and bottles as well as soft drink powder.
During tests, the BSTI found excessive fat or moisture in some of them, bacterial contamination in some of the products and low iron and iodine in salt.
Pran Agro Ltd, ACI Food Ltd, ACI Salt Ltd, Molla Salt Industries, City Oil Mill, Shabnam Vegetable Oil Industries Ltd, Bangladesh Edible Oil Ltd, Kashem Food Products Ltd, New Zealand Dairy Products BD Ltd, Duncan Products Ltd, Danish Food Ltd, Banalata Sweets and Bakery, Madhuban Bread and Biscuit Industries Private Ltd, Well Food and Beverage Co, Baghabari Special Ghee Co, and Madhumati Salt Industries are among the prominent errand companies.
ACI Salt business director Quamrul Hassan said that they disagreed with some of the finding of the BSTI and would, therefore take up the issue in the HC.
‘Our products are of superior standard,’ he said.
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