Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to take stern punitive measures against people involved in food adulteration, saying people can sell food items for profit but adulteration would not be tolerated.
‘You (authorities) have to make the traders aware about adulteration, on the other hand stern punitive measures have to be taken to stop it,’ she said.
The prime minister was addressing an event of National Safe Food Day-2021 as chief guest at Hotel Intercontinental in Dhaka, joining virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban.
The prime minister said that the Awami League, after assuming power, took legal initiatives for food safety and framed Food Safety Act-2013 along with establishing Bangladesh Food Safety Authority and making other necessary legal frameworks.
She said that the ‘100 safe food plan’ which had been initiated for the food industry should be implemented across the country – ranging from cities to rural areas.
The central food testing laboratory has been established, Sheikh Hasina said, adding the laboratories should also be set up at the divisional level as the government is laying emphasis on the industrialisation of food processing at the under implementation 100 special economic zones.
Expressing her thankfulness to the authorities concerned for grade-levelling the hotels and restaurants in Dhaka, Sheikh Hasina said that this job needs to be expanded across the country beyond the capital city.
‘To expand this vigilance, the government would extend all types of assistance for food safety,’ she said, laying emphasis on the use of digital devices for vigilance to this end.
The prime minister laid emphasis on intake of balanced food to meet nutrition demand alongside carrying out awareness building campaigns among the people for it.
‘Awareness building campaign on balanced food intake is urgent and necessary . . . I think it should be included in safe food,’ she said.
She asked the authorities concerned to take necessary measures to aware people how they would intake balanced food for nutrition, especially aged people, children and pregnant women.
Sheikh Hasina said that people now earn enough money and have the ability to buy protein they require, but they should be aware of how to maintain balanced diet.
Prime minister said that the government was working to materialise the hunger-poverty-free and developed ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman where food security, balanced food, safe food and nutrition would be ensured alongside people’s healthy and developed life.
Agriculture minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, MP, and fisheries and livestock minister SM Rezaul Karim, MP, also spoke on the occasion as special guests.
With food minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder, MP, in the chair, secretary Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum gave welcome speech at the function.
Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal and officials concerned were present at the Ganabhaban end.
On behalf of the prime minister, Sadhan Chandra Majumder handed over prizes among the winners of online essay and quiz competition that was organised to mark the National Safe Food Day.
‘Laboratory certificate is a must for the export of our agro products and foods,’ she said, asking the authorities concerned to facilitate food testing facilities at the rural level.
The prime minister laid emphasis on research and water-soil tests to know which varieties of crops yield better in which areas so the government could make arrangements of marketing of these products through proper processing.
‘It [test and crop production] would be required in accordance with increasing purchasing capacity of people,’ she noted.
She said that the government prioritised agriculture as the country’s economy is mainly dependent on it and food security of the country would also have to be ensured pinning on agriculture.
Reiterating her call to the people for not keeping any inch of land uncultivated, she said cultivation of every piece of land would help meet own demand and make scopes of earning money by selling the surplus production.
The prime minister also stressed on the strong vigilance on online food supply so that safe and exact foods were delivered as this process had expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this connection, she said that the government wanted to upgrade the service of Bangladesh Post Office so it could offer quality delivery service to the people.
The prime minister reiterated her government’s determination to provide a house to all homeless and landless people in the Mujib Barsho and on the occasion of the golden jubilee of the country’s independence.
She praised the students who participated in the online essay writing and quiz competition on the occasion of National Safe Food Day-2021 and hoped these students would be the soldiers of 2041’s Bangladesh as they can express their thinking.
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