The food samples were tested at the laboratory of SGS (General Society of Surveillance), an international food quality testing organisation. The samples were collected from Jatrabari, Khilgaon, New Market, Sadarghat, Karwan Bazar, Hatirjheel, Dhanmondi, Dhaka University, Gabtoli, Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Gulistan, Bhashantek, Basila and Mitford area.
Monirul Islam, the head of the food and nutrition department, led the research. The study revealed that almost 70 per cent of Dhaka’s residents consume street foods. A total of 140 types of food are sold on streets. The bacteria are mainly carried through water. Food containers, serving utensils and dust are also the sources of bacteria. Bacteria also come from the hands of the seller.
Monirul Islam told Prothom Alo that the entire procedure is unhealthy, from preparing the street food to consumption. At every step there are chances of germs including the bacteria to get mixed with the foods.
A search of the Dhaka North and South City Corporation revealed that there was no system to register or approve these food shops. Neither of these two organisations or the Food Safety Authority have any list of them. No government agency monitors the quality of food.
Food experts say that street food is very popular in many countries. Separate arrangements have been made for the sale of street food in the major cities of the countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and China. Quality control is regularly supervised. There has also been a system to provide fresh water for keeping the food healthy in those cities.
Member of the food safety authority, Rezaul Karim, told Prothom Alo that they have made a policy to make street food safe. Other initiatives will be taken including demarcating the area for selling street food.