Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder has asked restaurant owners to pledge they will not adulterate any food.
In response to the Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association's allegation that 12 monitoring authorities are harassing restaurant owners with raids, the minister said at a seminar, "Authorities will not raid restaurants if owners as a united group say they will not adulterate foods."
"Instead of criticising the government, ensure that no restaurant serves customers adulterated and stale foods," said the minister at a Tuesday seminar on creating awareness about the safe food act and the media's role.
He also requested restaurant owners not to keep cooked and raw foods in the same refrigerator, not to use the same oil several times over, and not serve poor quality food to customers.
Eight laboratories in eight divisions will be set up within six months to carry out specific tests against adulteration. At the same time, a mobile laboratory in each division will monitor restaurants and test food quality in the upazilas as well, he added.
On behalf of restaurant owners, Imran Hasan, secretary general of the organisation, said, "Twelve authorities, including the Bangladesh Safe Food Authority, Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution, and the Rapid Action Battalion, raid restaurants but there is no coordination between them."
"You have to understand our sector and its current condition to properly to implement the laws and regulations," he added.
He suggested that policies should be made in consultation with local and foreign experts. People involved in this sector have not been included in any of the plans made so far.
Food Secretary Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum said, "Our job is not to put businesses in trouble. The law must be enforced only after solving their problems and the government is working towards that goal."
Bangladesh Safe Food Authority Chairman Abdul Qayyum Sarkar said the media can play an effective role in creating awareness among people about food security and related laws, rules and regulations.
Notably, the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority has so far formulated 10 rules and regulations under the Safe Food Act 2013.