A report from the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) has found traces of lead, a toxic metal, in 11 out of 14 pasteurized milk brands approved by Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute (BSTI).
BFSA submitted the report before the High Court bench of Justice Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice KM Hafizul Alam on Tuesday.
Barrister Faridul Islam stood for BFSA, Sarkar MR Hasan represented BSTI, while Deputy Attorney General AKM Aminuddin Manik represented the state.
The 11 brands include: Milk Vita, Dairy Fresh, Igloo, Farm Fresh, Aftab Milk, Ultra Milk, Aarong Dairy, Pran Milk, Ayran, Pura, and Safe.
BFSA also found traces of cadmium, another hazardous substance for the human body, in some samples among 50 samples of raw milk they tested.
BFSA lawyer Barrister Faridul Islam said: “We tested a total of 12 feed samples, 11 pasteurized milk samples and 50 raw milk samples. We were only able to collect samples of 11 brands, who sell of the pasteurized milk, out of the total 14 BSTI-approved from the market.
“However, we did not test these samples for detergent and antibiotics.”
All samples were tested in laboratories under Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR), Plasma Plus, WAFFEN Research, Atomic Energy Commission, and International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), as per BSTI testing standards.
The court also directed the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) to submit a report before this court by July 28 on what action it has taken against adulteration of milk, curd and cattle feed.
Earlier on June 23, the High Court gave two weeks’ time to BSTI to submit the particulars of companies and firms producing and supplying milk and curd, with or without licenses in Dhaka, and also the names of those doing business with valid licenses.
Earlier, the High Court ordered the testing of raw cow milk, curd, and fodder in the market, following rampant milk adulteration in Bangladesh.
On May 21, Prof Shahnila Ferdousi, chief of National Food Safety Laboratory (NFSL), appeared in court and handed in only a report listing the companies or persons responsible for producing adulterated milk and milk products.
In NFSL's report, the names of 30 curd-producing companies, 30 fodder suppliers, 31 packet milk and 96 raw cow milk producers, and several persons, were mentioned with respect to products containing toxic materials.
On the same day, the High Court ordered the BSTI and the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA), to submit lab reports by June 23. The court issued the order at the hearing of a suo moto ruling issued on February 11.
Earlier on May 15, the court ordered BSTI and BFSA to submit their report on May 21, when they failed to submit it within 15 days of the suo moto ruling of February 11.