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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Prioritize food safety along with food security

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People need food for survival, energy and nutrition, but it is not easy to give food to seven billion mouths around the world. Hence, different kinds of scientific innovations and technological discoveries had to be made in increasing quantum of food of different genre such as cereals, vegetables, seeds and roots.

But oftentimes one crucial aspect i.e. the safety issue of what we eat is ignored. Foods are often adulterated by crooked human action. Some methods that are used for increased and enlarged production by the use of genetic hormones etc are now found not fully conducive to human health.

There are again hellish practices by some growers and specifically by food traders. Growers sometimes use such seeds, pesticides and chemical fertilizers which are quite harmful for human health. And to the worst when cereals, fruits, fish, meat and other edible items fall in traders hands they almost never care for safety of the consumers and use dangerous chemicals like formalin, calcium carbide and the like. Such items thus instead of being health stimulus become component of health hazards.

It was revealed by the South East Asia region of the World Health Organization (WHO) sometime back that seven lakh children in this region die of diarrhea every year. The figure is heart rending, especially in an era when all kinds of diarrheic diseases have become preventable and despite prevention if one or some variety of them break out it or they are treatable. In such circumstances death by diarrhea or cholera in such a large number is dreadful and is symbolic of the region's general backwardness.

To be precise, lack of consciousness and poverty are the twin reasons of this fatality. But the failure of national governments and the WHO cannot also be ignored. Since there is a close connection between diarrheal disease and purity of foods it can be easily perceived that eating contaminated or adulterated foods is at the core of the big number of fatalities from diarrhea in the region. 

Diarrhea, which was a nightmare in this part of the world in the past, has been controlled in Bangladesh to an optimum level by now thanks to the tremendous effective contribution of ICDDR,B. However, unchecked contamination and food adulteration of foods still pose serious public health concern here.

This is because unsafe/contaminated food causes many acute and life-long diseases that include various forms of cancer apart from diarrheal diseases. The government should therefore take up the matter in right earnest and attach much importance to the safety aspect of food alongside its continuous endeavor to ensure food security for the citizens.   

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