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Adulterated foods on sale in Sylhet eateries

28Scores of restaurants in Sylhet divisional city are rampantly selling adulterated and stale food items which are injurious to public health.  After consuming such food items, many people in the city and other places who are dependent on these restaurants are attacked with various diseases, including stomach-related disorders. Likewise, drinking water served in the restaurants and food shops are reportedly highly polluted.  Even then fresh food is a rarity.  Clearly, there is no system to check the quality of foods served in these restaurants.
Sources said owners of the restaurants make food items in an unhygienic environment. Customers’ crowds often choke the entire canteen space.Although Sylhet City Corporation has its sanitation department to look after the hygienic condition of the restaurants, its activities are hardly seen for the reason unknown.
Chairperson of Nagorik Forum, Sylhet alleged that as if the city restaurants, fast food shops and confectioneries are being used as the dumping ground for worst quality items of local kitchen markets for years as the authorities concerned are seen indifferent to the issue, exposing the customers to serious health hazards.
There are very few restaurants in the city where there is hygienic environment for taking foods as well.  Different food items are made in unhygienic conditions and served to the customers in the dirty restaurants. Besides, stale rice, vegetables, fish, meat, hotchpotch, biriyani and singara, puri, peaju, chatpoti, cake, sweetmeat etc. are served to the customers.
We have to eat these types of food because we have no better options”, said Riyajul Islam a private bank service holder in the city’s Subidbazar area.
Market sources said most of the popular food items are prepared with red-oxide.  Used for dying garment products, the colour is injurious to human health.
A quarter of dishonest traders is also engaged in supplying adulterated spices to the retailers across the city with labels of well-known spice companies.
On the other hand, people attacked with different kinds of skin diseases are work in most of these restaurants. It is learnt, a poor number of sanitary inspectors are appointed to look after the sanitation activities in all the 27 wards of the city.
A good number of people of the civil society said that the officials concerned are seldom seen monitoring the sanitation activities at the restaurants in the city.
Deputy director (metrology) of BSTI Sylhet regional office said that they had received complaints of selling rotten foods at the restaurants, and that measures were being taken to solve the problems. “We cannot launch sudden anti-adulteration drives due to lack of logistic supports including manpower, magistrates and transport.
Besides, the magistrates are often tied up with routine duties which make them unavailable for anti-adulteration drives.”
He, however, said despite the shortage, they are trying their best to regularly conduct anti-adulteration drives in the city and upazila headquarters of the division.
Coordinator of Consumers’ Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Sylhet district unit Jamil Choudhury opined that due to laxity of the department concerned of Sylhet city this unhygienic condition is prevailing in most of the restaurants in the city and district.  So he appealed to the higher authorities to look into the matter and take necessary steps without any waste of time.
President of Conscious Citizen Committee (CCC), Sylhet unit said, “Law alone cannot resist food adulteration. Coordinated efforts as well as change in mindset are needed to resist the offence.