Adulterated vermicelli floods Ctg market

Dhaka,  Wed,  20 September 2017
Published : 14 Jun 2017, 22:04:39

Adulterated vermicelli floods Ctg market

Pankaj Dastider

CHITTAGONG, Jun 14: Adulterated vermicelli produced in some 150 unauthorised makeshift factories in Chittagong has flooded the local markets - thereby posing a serious health risk to the city dwellers.

Although executive magistrates of the Chittagong district administration have conducted a number of raids in the form of mobile courts over the last two weeks, there is no report of such raids against the factories producing adulterated vermicelli, a tasty dish for consumption in the holy month of Ramadan.

Some of these factories are reportedly supplying the sub-standard vermicelli to local market for the last two months targeting the Ramadan consumers with manually-operated machines set up in unhygienic condition.

Different brands of vermicelli have flooded the port city with some of those named diamond brand, 2-mango, 1937, 3-mango, pineapple, jackfruit, KB, aeroplane, AMK, Panja etc.

The adulterated vermicelli producers have mainly targeted the people from among the poor, slum-dwellers and low-income group in the port city and its adjoining areas.

Most of these factories are installed in narrow and nasty environment on both banks of the Chaktai Canal, Khatungonj, Korbanigonj, Bakolia, Asadgonj, Rajakhali, Banglabazar, Char Chaktai, Meahkhan Nagar, Bayezid, Dewanhat and West Madarbari areas in the city.

Shopkeepers in Chaktai and Rajakhali said over 150 makeshift factories of vermicelli have grown up nearly two months back targeting the Ramadan clients in the above areas without caring much about the registration by Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institute (BSTI).

Although vermicelli is consumed as a very popular and delicious food item throughout the year, the item is more appealing to the fasting people especially during the Ramadan.

Sources concerned said vermicelli is being produced in those narrow and nasty conditions with sub-standard palm oil while the floors of the factories remain damp, dark and oily.

Young workers sweating all over are engaged in preparing vermicelli with palm oil and sub-standard flour, drying and frying either in the go-downs or beside the roads or on the drain covers.

Two shopkeepers at Reazuddin Bazar said vermicelli produced in the temporary and seasonal factories are getting good response and being sold well as the price is comparatively much lower.

Although the products are sub-standard, they added, these are being packed with brand names.

According to them, mobile courts formed by the district administration conduct raids mostly targeting other items excepting vermicelli.

Hence, they said, adulterated vermicelli brands remain almost unnoticed.

Assistant director of BSTI in Chittagong Mostaque Ahmed said vermicelli is not a BSTI-listed item. But, he admitted, trading and production of adulterated vermicelli get brisk business during Ramadan.

"It is possible to conduct raids on the sub-standard vermicelli-producing factories and take actions against those involved with the malpractice," he said.

President of the Consumers' Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Chittagong division SM Nazer Hossain said owners of the makeshift vermicelli factories are doing this business for the last one month ahead of the Ramadan by way of managing the officials and employees of the local BSTI office.

He said consumption of adulterated vermicelli poses serious health risk, but there is state machinery to check the evil trade. The district administration officials, too, are not looking into the matter seriously, he observed, adding that had the administration conducted raids with the beginning of the Ramadan, adulterated vermicelli could not have flooded the local market.
Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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