The High Court Division on Tuesday directed Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute and Bangladesh Food Safety Authority to get raw cow milk, curd and fodders tested at labs again to ascertain whether or not they are bacteria infected and lead contaminated.
A bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice KM Hafizul Alam also directed the BSTI and BFSA to submit their reports at the next hearing on June 23.
The court ordered the fresh lab tests in the presence of food safety lab chief of the Institute of Public Health prof Shahnila Ferdousi.
BSTI had raised objection about her test report which says she had found bacteria and lead in 96 raw cow milk samples, milk in 31 packs, curd in 30 containers and 30 fodder samples collected from the capital, Narayanganj, Gazipur, Savar, Ashulia, and Keraniganj.
With the test report submitted at Tuesday’s hearing she attached the list of the companies that had marketed contaminated raw cow milk and milk products.
The companies include government run Milk Vita, Pran, Aarong, Farm Fresh, Shwapna organic, Aftab Dairy Milk, Military Firm Milk, Fresh Milk and IGLOO.
After Prof Shahnila explained the procedure of her tests, the bench rebuked BSTI saying, ‘sitting in air-conditioned rooms how do you expect to get the correct test reports.’
As BSTI said that it did not find bacteria or lead in samples of raw cow milk, curd and fodders collected from Pabna and other places, the court said that the BSTI was unwilling to reveal the truth.
Shahnila said that she conducted the tests after randomly collecting the samples from the markets as well as the dairy firms.
She said that results of her tests were released only after further tests at international laboratories under the supervision of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization .
She said that the Institute of Public Health holds the tests with the technical support from the UN FAO to raise consumers awareness about food safety.
She said that in 2017, the Icddr, b and Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research also found bacteria and lead in dairy milk samples.
She said that she was not the first to find bacteria and lead in the samples of milk and milk products.
She said that the findings of the Icddr,b and the BCSIR caused a huge alarm.
The court asked Shahnila to place her statement through affidavit at the next hearing on June 23.
On February 11, the bench in a suo moto ruling directed the BSTI and BFSA to submit the list of companies that market contaminated cow milk, curd and fodder.
The Anti-Corruption Commission was asked to take action against the companies that market adulterated milk and cattle feed.
Shahnila found salmonella, escherichia coli, aflatoxin and residues of deadly pesticides like endosulfan as well as chromium and lead in 190 samples of cow milk, curd and fodder that were tested between August and December 2018.
The IPH had collected samples from 18 places of six upazilas in Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj.
News Courtesy: www.newagebd.net