Mon, Aug 19, 2019 8:44 AM
Wed, May 15, 2019 1:01

HC wants to know names behind milk adulteration


The High Court has ordered BSTI and BFSA to submit lists of the companies involved in adulteration of milk, dairy products, and fodders within June 23.


The High Court has ordered BSTI and BFSA to submit lists of the companies involved in adulteration of milk, dairy products, and fodders within June 23.

The bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice KM Hafizul Alam fixed the new date on Wednesday after BSTI and BFSA filed time petitions.

The court asked Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) and Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) to file separate reports regarding the companies.

Earlier, BFSA submitted a report, corroborating the National Food Safety Laboratory (NFSL) survey report, which found high levels of contaminants in milk and dairy products.

The court also asked NFSL Dr. Shahnila Ferdous to appear before the court on June 21 and describe the methods used to collect samples of milk.

That survey results had also prompted the same High Court bench to order the authorities concerned to form a committee and find out how much-contaminated milk, dairy products, and cow fodders are supplied and sold across Bangladesh. It also wanted those responsible identified.

BFSA formed a 16-member committee on February 17, but it did not identify those responsible for the adulteration in its report.

The NFSL report said that molecular analysis found Total Plate Counts (TPC) and Coliform Counts (CC) above permissible limits in 93 out of 96 samples of raw milk, and salmonella in one sample.

Chemical analysis also found, above permissible limits, pesticides in nine samples, lead in five, aflatoxin in three, tetracycline in 10 and ciprofloxacin in one.

Tetracycline is a broad spectrum antibiotic often used on animals, while aflatoxins are poisonous carcinogens that are produced by certain molds which grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains.

NFSL had also tested packaged milk samples — 21 local and 10 imported.

A displeased High Court wanted a list of the responsible companies.

Of the local samples, molecular analysis found TPC and CC above permissible limits in 17 and molds in 14, while CC was above permissible limits in one sample of imported milk.

Chemical analysis also found aflatoxin in one local sample and tetracycline in six. Tetracycline was found in three imported samples too.

Out of 33 yogurt samples collected from the market, TPC and CC were above permissible limits in 17 and six, respectively, molds were found in 17 and lead in one.

Meanwhile, of the 30 samples of cow feed, the NFSL detected high levels of pesticides in two, chromium in 16, tetracycline in 22, enrofloxacin in 26, aflatoxins in four, and ciprofloxacin in all 30.

The order and the respondents

The High Court on February 11, a day after the NFSL report came out, in a suo moto rule had ordered the authorities, including the Anti-Corruption Commission, to identify the responsible companies.

Different national dailies had published news items citing the survey report on the presence of pesticides, antibiotics, and bacteria in raw cow’s milk.

The secretaries of food, agriculture, fisheries and livestock, and health ministries and the Cabinet Division, all members of BFSA, members of CFSMCC and chairman of BSTI were made respondents to the rule.

Besides, the court had issued a ruling seeking an explanation as to why the inaction and failure of the respondents to stop the adulteration of cow milk and dairy products should not be declared illegal, and why those responsible for the adulteration would not be brought to book.