Food safety authority yet to start functioning

Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) has taken no visible measures in the last four months since its inception to ensure food safety, even in the current month of Ramadan when adulterated foodstuff floods the market.

The BFSA was established in February this year under the Food Safety Act -2013 to fight food adulteration and take care of other food-related concerns of consumers.

One of the major activities of the authority was said to form as many food-safety courts as deemed required to try the adulterators.

But the authority could form not a single food-safety court in the last four months as it is still grappling to finalise its administrative framework and code of conduct.

Asked about the current activities of the watchdog, the chairman of the authority Mustak Hassan Md Iftekhar told Prothom Alo, “We are still busy with framing organisational structure and making the code of conduct for the regulatory body.”

He, however, hoped the authority would soon be able to provide its service to the people once the organisational framework was finalised and manpower recruited accordingly.

Talking to Prothom Alo, officials at the authority’s office said the office would be shifted from Khadya Bhaban to Probashi Kalyan Bhaban next month.

Asked whether the four-month time span was enough for the authority to start functioning, the BFSA chairman said countries like India took five to six years to establish its food safety authority.

“So it will take time. I think it is not a matter to worry about,” he added.

The authority secretary, Abdul Baten Mian, said, “We have just formed one advisory council and a coordination committee.”

Asked exactly when the authority would be able to start its functioning in full swing, the secretary replied, “Nothing can be said in this regard as we are still carrying out the groundwork.”

Talking to Prothom Alo on anonymity, another official said it may take over a year to make the authority functional.

The food safety watchdog was formed primarily to work as coordinating body between 12 government agencies which take care of food safety.

Source: Prothom Alo. Date: June 26, 2015