A seminar which was held lately in Dhaka about how to make sure that food and beverages are protected from adulteration, contamination and other health risks exposed a shocking fact. The majority of consumers are unaware of some fundamental stuff about nutrition, health and hygiene.
Planned adulteration is not the sole means by which food and water can get contaminated. People’s lifestyle and healthy habits play an equally essential role in maintaining a clean environment both inside and outside the body. One field employee in the health and sanitation sector told an alarming story that many rural mothers did not accept that their baby’s feces polluted the pond water where they cleaned their messy nappies.
This kind of unawareness is the main reason why water and food borne diseases are so widespread in lower income areas. The goal of making food entirely safe will not be successful unless and until the common hygiene beliefs and standards are nurtured via mass education plans. In addition to personal cleanliness, the common public must also be well-informed on the risks of adding preservatives or chemical additives or colors to food, the prevailing corrupt measures used to cheat innocent public and numerous other stuffs through awareness increasing programs on food and beverage both in and out of a cup holder.
Here is another incident that talks of the ignorance of sellers. Millers in Rangpur have been making use of urea to polish rice and make it shine than usual only to get a higher rate. I am not convinced that these offenders are still not aware of the harsh outcomes of urea on the customer’s health. A similar situation would be us knowingly using a harmful plastic in our drink holder (which we don’t) or other companies using bad plastics in their wheelchair accessories.
Such activities have generated a bigger responsiveness in some consumers and it looks like there have been some defensive outcomes as well. If the awareness-building program continues all through the year, I am sure this alertness will widen all over the country and food standards can be followed more firmly by every one including the seller, buyer and law enforcer.
Unfortunately, presently there is no functioning state mechanism to guarantee the quality and safety of all types of food products existing in the market. Moreover, the general wakefulness about the harsh effects is absent at all levels be it at policy-making, traders or ordinary consumer levels. However, the establishment can employ the Consumer Protection Law everywhere possible to defend the needy. In fact, it is the responsibility of the authorities to be vigilant always and accomplish the achievable to make the consumers aware of the hazards.