Joint initiative to ensure safe food for consumers

Dhaka,  Sun,  24 September 2017
Published : 25 Aug 2017, 01:12:04
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Joint initiative to ensure safe food for consumers

Two-day Food Safety Conference ends
FE Report


Consumer Rights Protection wing under the commerce ministry in partnership with the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) under the food ministry will work together to ensure safe food in the country.

The consumers have already started getting the benefits of formation of BFSA as the average life expectancy has increased.  

Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed made the observations on Thursday at the concluding session of a two-day Bangladesh Food Safety Conference 2017 with the theme 'Protecting Consumers: A Shared Responsibility'.

The conference started Wednesday at a city hotel and brought together the food industry and regulators with an aim to enhance the quality and safety of food for the consumers.

Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Foreign Investors' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) and BFSA jointly organised the conference, first of its kind, in collaboration with 19 local and multinational companies.

"The Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) and BFSA will work jointly to ensure safe food for the consumers," Mr Tofail said.

He said consumer rights protection department has been working to create awareness among the consumers. Besides, the success rate of settlement of the complaints of last four years is quite encouraging.

"We have settled all the complaints lodged in last three years. This year from January to July, 6060 complaints have been lodged of which 5,762 have been settled," he said. Besides, the department realised Tk 61.44 million in fines from different organisations.

The minister informed that Coca-Cola has expressed interest to invest about $75 million in a new project in Bangladesh.

Food minister Qamrul Islam who was present as the special guest said in foreign countries, people can eat street food without any concern. As Bangladesh has a vision to become a developed country by 2041, it should have same types of food so that other people can have the Bangladeshi street foods without being worried.

"We want to reach the target so that people can take our any kind of food without tension. After ensuring food sufficiency, the government has been working to ensure the constitutional rights of people to get safe food," he said.

By forming the BFSA, now 18 ministries and 480 agencies have got the chance to work together under it in the areas of food safety which was earlier quite scattered, the minister added.

BFSA chairman Mahfuzul Haque said one of the major mandates of BFSA is to work closely with the food industry so that they are encouraged to produce high quality food products and come under a good food safety compliance, which is also mentioned in the law.

"We have a target to work closely with the food industries as per the five-year strategic plan 2017-2021," he said.

Earlier in a consultation session titled "A Farm to Fork Approach', chaired by Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) director general KAS Murshid, speakers laid emphasis on Codex harmonisation, capacity building of the inspectors, implementation of regulation seamlessly, consumer education, self regulation by the industries by ensuring quality assurance and quality control to help guarantee safe food for the consumers.

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