Home / Bangladesh / Doubts over BCSIR tests : Section of scientists allegedly involved in issuing exaggerated reports

Doubts over BCSIR tests : Section of scientists allegedly involved in issuing exaggerated reports

43There are questions being raised over the authenticity of certain reports prepared by a few institutions functioning under the aegis of the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR). These doubts have been raised on reports prepared by these institutions and primarily deal with food items and frozen food. The criticism of the findings in these reports has stemmed from several quarters, including the European Commission (EC).
According to BCSIR sources who spoke to The Independent on the condition of anonymity, a section of scientists are allegedly involved in issuing exaggerated reports to companies in exchange of money. The sources further allege that many reports prepared at laboratories under the BCSIR on government instructions are being provided after the original findings and facts are tampered with. “There is no similarity in the findings of tests carried out on different food items, including frozen food, by different laboratories under the BCSIR,” sources said. Three laboratories under the BCSIR recently carried out tests on Maggi Noodles and came up with varying results. These results are now being re-tested at different labs, sources said.
The Health and Consumer Protection Directorate-General, European Commission, which prepared its final report on export items after assessing the quality of the fishery and aquaculture products tested in Bangladeshi labs, had this to say in its report.
“BCSIR is a large multidisciplinary research organisation with a large scientific workforce, many of whom appear to be well qualified. The workload is quite diverse and is carried out across a number of institutes within BCSIR. The antibiotic analyses and heavy metal analyses are carried out in the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST),” the report said.
“None of the institutes are currently accredited by any recognised accreditation body. However, accreditation under ISO 17025 is a general goal for the organisation. SOPs have not been prepared for antibiotic analyses in BCSIR. In absence of SOPs, the reproducibility of the analytical procedure cannot be assured
and accreditation will not be achievable,” the EC report stated.
The report further raised doubts over the utility of the methodology being adopted at BCSIR laboratories. According to the report, the method currently employed (using HPLC-UV in IFST) may be capable of detecting the nitrofuran parent drugs, but is unlikely to have sufficient sensitivity to be of significant use as a screening tool for food and water samples.
The report goes on to point out some critical drawbacks in the procedures followed by the laboratories or whether the tests claimed to have been conducted were actually carried out or not. “No quality assurance procedures are employed for any of the relevant analytical techniques in IFST, nor has the laboratory taken part in any proficiency study for nitrofuran analyses, chloramphenicol analysis or for heavy metal analyses,” the report says.
“In the absence of these data, there is no proof that the analysis was ever carried out,” it adds. When contacted, Nazrul Islam, Chairman of BCSIR, told The Independent that the matter would be scrutinised again. “It has just been two weeks since I joined here. I need a few more days to find out the anomalies,” he said. “Data for each test has been preserved by the IFST concerned scientists,” Jahurul Huq, Director, IFST, said, adding, “Our scientists conduct every test using sophisticated machines and technology. So, the question of issuing reports in exchange of money is irrelevant”.