Tomatoes too adulterated

September 30, 2012

The item made off-limit to the market
Almost all seasonal vegetables, including cabbages, cauliflowers, beans, radishes, carrots and spinach, are on display. But there is no sign of tomatoes.
This was the picture at the Malibagh kitchen market in the capital when this correspondent visited it on Wednesday. Asked why tomatoes were not on sale, an elderly vegetable trader at the market said, “Ripe tomatoes are soaked in formalin [a poisonous chemical used as a preservative]. So, we have been asked not to sell them.”
The Malibagh kitchen market was declared formalin-free on September 19. The traders there have not been selling any tomatoes since.
Other kitchen markets in the capital, however, are teeming with ruby-red tomatoes.
Shamim Bhuiyan, secretary general of Malibagh Market Traders Cooperative Limited, yesterday said, “From today the vegetable traders will take our formalin detection kit to Karwanbazar and check for formalin before buying any fruits or vegetables.”
Some other vegetables, such as cucumber, carrot, green chilli, cauliflower and beans are also under inspection, said Shamim.
“How can we rely on a single detection kit for checking all fruits, fishes and vegetables? Still, we are glad that at least some initiatives have been taken here to curb the use of formalin,” said Mahbub Hossain, an employee at a private firm, at the Malibagh kitchen market on Wednesday afternoon.
As so many products are now contaminated with formalin, it is time for customers to carry a formalin detector. Before buying such products, they should check for formalin on their own, he added.
At the fruit shops outside the kitchen market, most shopkeepers were selling native fruits, among which were papaya, wood apple, cherimoya, pummelo, carambola, water chestnut, guava, olive and banana. Only one shop was selling imported fruits.
The fruit sellers also check grapes and other imported fruits for formalin, said Shamim Bhuiyan.
“We have detected formalin only in ripe tomatoes and a red fruit called cherry,” Shamim added.

-With The Daily Star input

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