People are largely deprived of their basic right to safe food in absence of proper implementation of the relevant law, experts expressed concerns on Monday.
"Safe food, health and nutrition must be ensured for sustainable development," Professor Kamal Uddin Ahmed, former vice-chancellor of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, said on the occasion of National Food Safety Day to be observed on Tuesday, 2 February.
He was speaking as the chief guest at a rally organised by the Safe Food and Consumer Rights Movement, a volunteer organisation, in front of the National Press Club in the capital.
At the rally, the experts demanded the full implementation of the Safe Food Act 2013 to address the menace of adulterated and unsafe food and to continue the productivity of future generations.
In the absence of proper enforcement of the law, they said, unscrupulous traders are adulterating everything and thus forcing consumers to buy unsafe goods.
Meanwhile, experts said the consumption of unsafe food containing trans fat increases the risk of heart disease.
"We have come to know that the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority is going to formulate a regulatory policy on trans fat," said ABM Zubair, executive director of research and advocacy organisation Progga (Knowledge for Progress).
"This policy needs to be finalised and implemented as soon as possible," he said.
In a press release, Progga on Monday said food free of trans fat is one of the main conditions of safe food, and the food safety authority has currently undertaken an initiative to fix the maximum level of trans fat at 2% of the total fat in all fats, oils and food products – which is a timely move in terms of public health safety.
A recent study has found that 92% of partially-hydrogenated oils (PHO) sampled in Dhaka city contain trans-fatty acids (TFA) levels above 2% – a limit set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
A staggeringly high concentration of TFA of a maximum of 20.9 grams per 100 grams has been detected in the sampled PHOs – which is more than 10 times the WHO-set threshold, it added.