Eminence organized a Round Table Discussion on “Child Nutrition and Food Safety” in association with The Daily Prothom Alo
The discussion on “Child Nutrition and Food Safety” was held with prestigious personalities, from Government, Non- Government Organizations, Development Agencies and other relevant organizations, as an effort to ensure safe food in every stage. Mr. Abu Alam Md. Shahid Khan, Secretary, Local Government Division, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives was present as the Chief Guest.
He had conveyed the importance of safe food and, therefore, asked for support from all ministries to work on this issue. He also stated that, in order to avoid the lack of coordination between different ministries, all ministries should work under food ministry to address the food safety issue. A law regarding this is also under process as confirmed by Mr. Abu Alam Md. Shahid Khan. To prevent adulteration he also emphasized on building awareness, he also appreciated the initiative of developing formalin free markets but he added that it is not feasible to make all markets formalin free as there are 33 thousand markets all over Bangladesh.
Experts urged the need to create awareness in every stage- harvest, transport, storage, distribution and also cooking. Besides this, emphasis has been given to restrict the use of formalin in different food products by using proper monitoring techniques.
Professor Shah Monir Hossain, Senior National Advisor of FAO and General Secretary Bangladesh Civil Society Network for Promoting Nutrition (BCSNPN) highlighted the need to set up food testing laboratory in all import and export zones. He also asked for strict monitoring and controlling of both export and import products. Dr. Tahmeed Ahmed, Head of Nutrition Programme Scientist, Clinical Sciences Division, ICDDR, B talked on hygiene and sanitation. He stressed that proper hygiene practice is required at all stage and especial attention to be give to the hygiene and sanitation issue in the rural and slum areas. He believes that unclean water and unhygienic cooking environment lead to several diseases. Therefore, he draws everyone’s attention to create hygiene and sanitation awareness among mass people to ensure safe home- cooked food
Country Director of Micronutrient Initiative (MI), Zeba Mahmud stated the importance of the green, yellow vegetables and fruits in children’s diet which provide vitamins; and referring to the prevailing unsafe food situation, she added that parents fear to provide natural food products to their children thereby depriving children of the necessary nutrition from natural sources. She suggested to conduct tests to detect the presence of formalin/ or any other harmful chemicals in food in border areas.
Mr. Helal Uddin, Vice President, FBCCI said Trade Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) to be assigned the responsibility of all imports and in the case of illegal involvement, the relevant party to be punished severely. He believes that through this measure, the illegal use of formalin can be controlled. He even shared the fact that the need for formalin is only 60-70 tonnes in a year but 600-700 tonnes are available.
Professor Md. Shahidullah, President Bangladesh Neonatal Forum said that formalin is needed in little amount, so Government can increase the price of formalin by 50 times, which can help to reduce the use of it. He suggested that children should have balanced diet and fresh foods to be properly nourished. Nasreen Khan, Deputy Program Manager, NNS mentioned that the use of DDT is banned by law but it is still present in foods. Coordination among local government, agriculture and trade ministry is important said Advisor (MNE), PMMU of Ministry of health and family welfare Karar Zunaid Ahsan .
Professor Dr. Md. Aminul Haque Bhuyan, Director, INFS University of Dhaka regretted the availability of unsafe food items supply around school. He called for more attention from Child nutrition unit of IPHN and emphasized on filling up nutritionist post in every Upazila. Lalita Bhattacharjee, Nutritionist, National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Program, FAO advised to start school gardening projects to provide safe and nutritious food to school going children. She shared that around 70% of Bangladeshis intake high calorie food which is less nutritious.
The event started with the warm words of Associate Editor Abdul Quayum. He had also introduced the topic to the guests. CEO of Eminence Dr. Md. Shamim Hayder Talukder moderated the discussion. He had also demonstrated the prevailing condition of food safety issue impacting the nutrition of children.