- These germs can cause recurrent fever, diarrhoea, and hepatitis
- If taken for a long time, they can harm the red blood cell, leading to heart- and kidney-related diseases
- Besides, body immunity decreases due to frequent infections by these germs
Hasibur Rahman, a resident of Mohanagar residential area near Hatirjheel in the capital, loves to eat fuchka and chotpoti. He along with his family goes to Hatirjheel to eat the street food items very often.
But there is bad news for those who love street foods.
According to a recent study of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC), harmful bacteria coliform and E coli have been found in different street foods including fuchka, chotpoti, noodles, panipuri, and bhelpuri.
These germs can cause recurrent fever, diarrhoea, and hepatitis. If these foods are taken for a long time, they harm the red blood cell, which later becomes a reason for heart- and kidney-related diseases. Besides, the immunity of the body decreases due to frequent infections.
Dr Lenin Chowdhury, chairman of Health and Hope Hospital, said, "Usually, these bacteria are found in faeces. These spread through water. The water contaminated with the bacteria enters our bodies and causes different diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, and jaundice. If anybody takes the contaminated foods for a long time, it damages their liver."
Usually, these bacteria are found in faeces. These spread through water. The water contaminated with the bacteria enters our bodies and causes different diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, and jaundice.
Out of 140 kinds of street foods in the capital, the BARC conducted the study on jhalmuri, panipuri, bhelpuri, fuchka, chotpoti, noodles, fruit juice, mixed fruit mash (prepared with tamarind, green banana, olive, and spices), pomelo (jambura) mash, wood apple (kodbel) mash, and sugarcane juice. The germs, which are usually found in faeces, have been found in these mouth-watering foods in an excessive amount.
It has been learnt from the study that harmful ingredients have been found in large amounts in fruit juice. It has been also found that non-food grade colour has been used in the juice, which can harm kidneys to a great extent.
The BARC collected samples of the foods from Jatrabari, Khilgaon, New Market, Sadarghat, Hatirjheel, Karwan Bazar, Dhanmondi, Dhaka University area, and Mohammadpur in the capital. Three samples of each item have been tested in the laboratory.
In the tests, coliform and from 1,100 to one lakh E coli bacteria have been found in these foods. It has also been tested whether there are salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus in the foods.
Salmonella was not found but Staphylococcus aureus was found in a very small amount, which cannot cause harm to human bodies. However, the foods are not supposed to contain the bacteria.
The BARC study has mentioned several reasons behind the presence of such bacteria in the street foods. It has said the cooking and kitchen utensils used to prepare and serve the food are unhygienic. Sometimes, dirty water is used to make the foods.
Besides, who prepare the food items do not maintain hygiene. That is why the bacteria mix with the foods and enter human bodies.
To prevent the contamination, there is no alternative but to ensure proper hygiene of the ingredients of the food and the environment of the places where the foods are prepared. Besides, the people who serve foods must maintain cleanliness
Dr Md Monirul Islam, member director of the BARC, conducted the research. He told The Business Standard, "Street foods are popular among people all over the world. But the places where we prepare the foods and the system of serving those are not hygienic. The ingredients of the food are brought from unhygienic places and that is why the harmful bacteria are found in the items."
"To prevent the contamination, there is no alternative but to ensure proper hygiene of the ingredients of the food and the environment of the places where the foods are prepared. Besides, the people who serve foods must maintain cleanliness," he said.
He thinks the government should take steps in this regard urgently.