Sunday, October 20, 2019

Food Safety Authority seeks BSTI report before moving against 52 'substandard' products

  • Faysal Atik, Staff Correspondent
    Published: 2019-05-14 01:33:49 BdST

The High Court's orders to take 52 food products off the shelves has left retailers in a quandary as the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority, tasked with implementing the directives awaits a report from the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Instituion, or BSTI.

Based on a report by the BSTI, the court on Sunday ordered that 52 'substandard' products of 18 companies be immediately withdrawn from shop shelves and destroyed. 

The Bangladesh Food Safety Authority and the Directorate of National Consumers' Right Protection were given 10 days to execute the order.

On Monday, the sales of the impugned products continued unabated at one of the capital's biggest wholesale markets in Karwan Bazar. According to vendors, they are unsure of what to do under the circumstances.

"Pran's ground turmeric, Lachchha vermicelli and other such products are very popular in the market. But we are yet to find out what the problem is with these products or its extent. Even though there are problems with one or two of the products, I don't think that makes all the rest harmful," Abdul Haque Khan, a prominent dealer of Pran's products at Karwan Bazar, told

"I don't know what to do now. If there really are problems with the products, then the company should stop supplying it and we will stop selling it."

"We will lose customers if we stop the sales now. But if we later find out that the products can be sold, then our business will take a hit in the meantime. We are facing a dilemma now."

The 52 'substandard' products identified by the BSTI include the ground turmeric and Lachchha vermicelli of one of the most popular consumer brands in Pran. The list also includes the ground turmeric produced by the Danish, Fresh and Sun brands as well as ACI Pure's coriander powder.

Teer brand's mustard oil was also found in stores at Karwan Bazar. Anwar Hossain, a shopkeeper, said that retailers are not considering violating the court order to further their businesses. But they want to have a 'clearer understanding' of the problem's with Teer's mustard oil before removing it from their stores.

Aside from City Group's Teer mustard oil, the sales of Rupchanda of Bangladesh Edible Oil, Pusti of Shabnam Vegetable Oil, GB of Green Blessings Oil were prohibited by the court order.

Shafiqul Islam, director general of the Directorate of Consumers' Right Protection, could not be reached for comment.

Bangladesh Food Safety Authority Chairman Mahfuzul Hoque told that they want to see the BSTI's research report before launching a drive.

"We must receive the BSTI's lab report before we can take measures against the 52 products. We cannot take action until we go through the report because the penalties against the brands will depend on the degree of the products' adulteration. Therefore, we need to ascertain the type of adulteration from the report."

Describing their position on the matter, Mahfuzur said that the penalties vary on the type of violation by the product manufacturer.

"If the products contain any life-threatening ingredients, then there is one type of penalty. On the other hand, if the quality is lessened by a lack of necessary components, then the punishment is of a different nature.

Therefore, the food safety regulator's chief highlighted the barrier to taking the same action against the products by lumping it one bracket.