Published:  12:18 AM, 05 September 2018

Food safety in Bangladesh

Food safety in Bangladesh

Engr. Khandker Raqibul Islam

Concept that food will not cause harm to the consumer when it is prepared and/or eaten according to its intended use. It is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent food-borne illness. 

The occurrence of two or more cases of a similar illnesses resulting from the ingestion of a common food is known as a food-borne disease outbreak. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potential health hazards. In this way food safety often overlaps with food defense to prevent harm to consumers.

Now a day's food safety has become a most important issue for safe food for the all over the world feedings. Not only processed food sector but also restaurants, in homemade food preparations, food sells, food distributions, food storage, everywhere where food is taken. Safe foods can lead safe lives. 

Without safe food we cannot think a healthy, wealthy and fertile life. The slogan is safe food for present and next generation is worldwide now. So, to build a safe generation safe food is must. We cannot think a safe life for a moment without safe food.

In Bangladesh presently, food safety awareness is rising up because of different types of food borne illness has broken out. 

Dishonest business man making money by adulteration of food materials, fruit, vegetables, fish, etc. They are using Formalin to preserve and extend shelf life of vegetables, milk, fish & meat and using carbide to ripen fruit; hydrogen peroxide to preserve milk. This is the present situation of the daily needs products.

Also processed food products are adulterated and contaminated by different types of hazards (chemical, physical, microbiological) like nonfood grade colors, nonfood grade flavors, different metals & stones, microorganisms, toxins etc. 

This kind of contamination happens due to lacking of food safety awareness, idleness about personal hygiene & safety, physical unfitness (sickness, affected by diseases like dysentery, diahorrea, cholera, caught by cold, fever etc), improper cleaning & sanitation of the plant and the equipment's, location of the process industries, constructional structure like building, wall, floor, shed, ventilation system, door, windows, entrance, lighting, false ceiling.   
Also, storage conditions both raw material and finished goods storage condition s is also has a great affect in contamination of food products. Due to improper temperature, humidity, lighting, air contamination and flow of insects, rodents, flies, ants etc.

At the last stage during distribution and serving food products are contaminated seriously and consumers affected by contamination causing serious food poisoning, also results to death. Modern technology enriched d food products manufacturers are aware about food safety and proper distribution and supply chain. 

But less quality food manufacturer s where modern technology is not addressed are not aware about food safety and hygienic distribution system.  So that food safety is violating and contamination is getting vastly. 

These are happening because of they don't know, what is food safety, food hygiene, personal hygiene, food hazards, food poisoning, food contaminants, food borne illness, effect of food poisoning. 

They are not aware of proper knowledge of improper cleaning & sanitation, benefit of personal hygiene, effects of nonfood grade equipments, colors, flavors, additive, how food is contaminated, how microorganisms is spread form the body to food products. 

They also use packaging materials which are not approved by FDA. Those are also enriched with printing colors and pigments which are seriously poisonous for human body. 

Their Food products distribution system is totally unhealthy, unclean, contaminated by various types of microorganisms, dust. Delivery man and van driver is same person and he doesn't use hand gloves or any fork to take products from inside the van (shelf) to delivery tray. 

Most of these products are remain unpacked and some of these needs cut into pieces during distribution but they never use any hand gloves. Most of these products are distribute besides the roads and highways so these are not free of dust from the outsides. 

These types of manufactures are not aware of proper storage condition and temperature. Most of them do their all activities (storage, processing, preserving) under same shed. So that final product has a high risk of contamination. They are not aware of food danger zone. 

Food Borne illness outbreaks as a result of all of these above-mentioned issues. Unfortunately, only a small proportion of food borne illnesses is reported because most of peoples living below standard level are not aware of food borne illness due to food contamination so that total no of Death caused by food borne illness are not came to our view.

The causes of food borne illness can be viral, bacterial, parasitic, or chemical. The two leading causes are viral and bacterial caused by Salmonella alone; the remaining seven deaths were caused by either Listeria monocytogenes, E coli, Norovirus, Clostridium botulinum, Public exposure to unsafe food handling practices is likely to increase as the popularit. 

Food borne illness outbreaks are on the rise and food safety continues to be a major concern since food borne illnesses have potential to attack patrons through a variety of ways.

The reasons for outbreaks include: epidemiological selection (outbreaks involving several people are more likely to be traced back to the source than to individual cases), lack of quality assurance in food manufacturing, and most importantly a failure of food handlers to follow critical behaviors that mitigate the potential for food borne illness.

According to study of how Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plays a role in preventing food borne illness, they included several outlets that influence the occurrence of food borne illness:

* Mass production and distribution of food that leads to opportunity for contamination and much larger food borne illness outbreaks 

* Booming food manufacturing establishments where food handlers do not have training in food hygiene 

* Increase in number of vulnerable groups (elderly, immune compromised individuals, and pregnant women) 

* Increase of food consumption outside the home with an increase in the number of food manufacturing establishments 

* Lack of time and attempt to increase economic profits 

* Lack of training and education of food handlers 

* Weakness in investigation and surveillance of food borne diseases such as inability to evaluate the impact of food safety interventions and the magnitude of consequences food borne diseases have 

As a result of the different outlets for food borne illness outbreaks, food-related scares have led to an increase of interest in improving food safety practices in food-manufacturing operations as well as communicating the importance of sanitation to food workers. Food will remain safe as long as critical behaviors are observed in food handling.

Food borne illness is a serious issue in Bangladesh and an implementation of food safety educational programs that focus on procedures to prevent food borne illnesses are necessary. 

The major element which will ensure a lasting and growing benefit throughout the food industry is without a doubt the requirement for its workforce to receive food hygiene awareness training because human error is one of the largest driving forces behind food borne illness outbreaks. This recognition of the important role food handlers has in food borne illness outbreaks has lead to a realization. 

The key to preventing food borne disease is to educate and train food handlers. Training and certification programs have been introduced to educate food safety team leaders/managers in sanitary food handling practices; due to the cost of training programs, an evaluation of their efficacy is crucial. 

Most of the food safety/quality control managers engage in less quality food manufacturing industry are not trained in the supervisory role of food safety; therefore, the lack of training is damaging and restricts their ability to assess food safety risks and convey proper hygiene training to their staff. 

More shockingly, it is found that uncovered food handlers and managers' perceptions of hygiene training, found the majority of untrained food handlers indicated their managers had not discussed nor provided food hygiene training during their early stages of employment. 

Reasons for the lack of training are costs of training programs, a lack of course availability particularly free food safety courses, and a time for when the food handlers would be trained. Even high employee turnover can mean a loss of food safety practice as soon as the food handler is trained.

When food handlers are provided formal food safety training during their employment, the concern then becomes the fact that food safety knowledge does not always transfer into practice. The implied theoretical framework behind most training programs is an increased knowledge about sources of contamination and appropriate responses will result in improved food safety behavior. 

Training typically focuses on the presentation of science-based facts and in some cases, competency-based training about specific behaviors; unfortunately, this training is narrow in focus and inattentive to the factors that influence transfer of training. Knowledge of food contamination risks does not always result in safe food handling behavior (p. 11).

Knowledge evolves and so should training education to convey and imprint the most recent information in food handlers. Implementing knowledge gained from training requires a change in behavior and communicating food safety basics must be continual.

The writer is a food safety expert

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