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Bangladesh - 2 weeks ago

Adulterated foods pose health risks

Zarif Mahmud: How safe are the food products that the people of the country eat every day? Research report says – not safe at all. From the main food products rice to pulses, oil, flour-flour, turmeric-pepper, curd-sweets, baby food and bakery products are mixed with various toxic chemicals that are extremely harmful to the human body. Experts say that people are suffering from various complex diseases including cancer and kidney disease by eating food with these chemicals. Future generations or children are the most affected.
The Public Health Institute, a government research agency, collects samples of various food products from markets across the country every year. They are then tested at the agency’s public health laboratory. The company recently published the 2023 sample test report. The picture of food adulteration in that report is horrible. The rate of substandard food in the country has increased a lot in 2023 compared to the previous year i.e. 2022. 118 cases of substandard food have increased in just one year. While 81 food samples were found to be adulterated as a result of lab tests in 2022, the number increased to 199 in 2023 tests.

According to the analysis of food product sample testing report of Public Health Institute, 1,398 samples were collected from all over the country in 2023. Out of this, 1,082 samples were tested. According to the sample test report of the institute, ghee has the highest adulteration of 56.25 percent. However, last year the highest 75 percent adulteration was found in all types of sweets. For example, Chamcham, Kalojam and Rasgolla were found to contain substances harmful to the human body. This year, 18.18 percent adulteration was found in sweets. 4.16 percent adulteration was found in rice, the main food product of the people of the country.
According to the report, ghee and sweet products are leading the crowd of adulteration. Like Chamcham, Rasgolla, Kalojam, Curd, Ghee, Jaggery, Honey. Also, many ingredients of the food that people eat for three meals are adulterated. Such as wheat, flour, dal, flour, salt, soybean oil, turmeric, pepper. Even baby food is not spared from adulterants. Baby food powder is also mixed with various toxic chemicals.
The second most adulterated spice product is chili powder. The adulteration rate is 48.67 percent. Jaggery is next in terms of adulteration, the rate of adulteration is 37.50 percent. It is followed by turmeric powder 36.36 percent, coconut oil/olive oil 20.60 percent, sweets, chamcham, black jam, 18.18 percent in rasgolla, 16.67 percent in besan, 16.13 percent in coriander powder, 15.92 percent in bread. Percent, soybean oil contains 10.71 percent, salt 10.33 percent, dal/gram 8.11 percent, sugar 4.48 percent, rice 4.16 percent and mustard oil 1.75 percent.
Harmful ingredients mixed: Talking to the experts, it is known that many types of toxic ingredients are mixed in these food products. These include textile chemicals and textile dyes. Apart from this, urea, hydrogen, carbide, formalin and parathion are mixed in various food products. Fatty acids, emulsifying textile dyes are mixed to keep food products fresh in bakery factories. Apart from this, low quality flour, rotten dal, oil and eggs are used in these products.
The masala is mixed with poisonous cloth dyes, smelly crackers, chili powder, rice bran, bricks, wood powder, peas and low-quality semolina. Formalin is added to milk to keep it fresh for longer. Apart from this fake milk is made by heating water and mixing it with arrowroot. Not only this, in the preparation of fake milk, chickpea water, dirty water, soda, peroxide, flour, rice starch and sugar are mixed.
What can harm human body: Experts say, there is no organ which does not get damaged after entering the human body after mixing with textile dyes and chemical food or drink.
In this regard, the former dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Dhaka University, Prof. ABM Farooq told the light of time that the most damage is done to the liver, kidney, heart and bone marrow. These organs deteriorate quickly in children and the elderly. The spoils of youth are somewhat late. Different types of cancer, liver cirrhosis, kidney failure and asthma increase in the body due to food adulteration.
He also said that several symptoms appear in the body due to the consumption of chemically mixed food. These include stomach ache, vomiting, dizziness, loose stools, indigestion, excessive sweating, body weakness and sudden low or high pulse rate. Because of this adulterated food, the people of the country are suffering so much, they are dying, but there is no remedy. Everyone is watching and listening yet there is no punishment for adulterers of food, it is very sad. A nation is becoming diseased, dying due to adulteration alone. The government has no problem with this matter. If the government does not pay attention, the price will be more extreme in the future.
3 lakh people get cancer every year: According to a study by the Save the Environment movement, about 3 lakh people get cancer every year in the country just because of consumption of adulterated food.
1 lakh 50 thousand are affected by diabetes. More than 2 lakh people are affected by kidney disease. Apart from this, the number of children born with birth defects including physical complications of the pregnant mother is about 1.5 lakh.
Expert doctor’s comment: Associate Professor of National Kidney Disease and Urology Institute Md. Morshed Alam told the light of time, various metal-based adulterated foods can cause kidney damage from low to full. This adulterated food is one of the main reasons for the increase in kidney disease in our country. Especially children kidney patients are increasing at an alarming rate. One of the main reasons for this is adulterated food. Apart from this, people are suffering from more complex and difficult diseases due to consumption of adulterated food – allergies, asthma, skin diseases, vomiting, headaches, loss of appetite, high blood pressure, heart attack and liver cirrhosis. The government needs to take this matter very seriously. Because our future generation is growing up with various complex diseases in the body due to this food adulteration and many are dying prematurely. Apart from this, there is no alternative to increase awareness to eliminate food adulteration. Especially those who mix food adulterants should raise awareness. They have to understand that their children are getting sick after consuming some adulterated product.
Product sample testing hindered due to various crises: Although the government institute BSTI and some other organizations including science laboratories test food product samples, the Public Health Institute, which is under the Ministry of Health, tests the most samples every year. However, for the past few years, the organization’s product sample testing program has been hampered due to various reasons including the lack of necessary funds and manpower.
On the condition of anonymity, a top official of the organization told, due to lack of money, the sample testing program is being severely hampered. There is also a shortage of manpower to collect product samples from across the country and manpower to test them in labs. Due to this, the rate at which the sample could be tested can’t be done at that rate.

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