A market with a difference- no room for formalin

September 28, 2012

Faruk Hossain, a fish trader, brought a maund of Ruhita and Prawns to Malibagh kitchen market on Thursday morning hoping to have a brisk business like the previous days. But that was not to be.
He was stopped at the market gate and soon four members of the market monitoring team carrying formalin detection machine found the chemical in his fish.
‘You can’t sell formalin mixed fish here,’ Atowar Hossain, one of the members of the monitoring team told Faruk.
A dejected Faruk turned around and left the market.
Consumers, however, were happy. They want relief from formalin as well as carbide—two chemicals that have great risk for health.
‘I came here from Gulshan after I came to know this market is formalin and carbide free. We’re tired of consuming chemical mixed fish and vegetables,’ Ashikur Rahman, a service holder, told New Age.
‘It’s a good initiative and I hope that the market sells formalin-free fish,’ he said, pointing to the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry move to make the market formalin-free, the first of its kind in Dhaka city.
Like Ashikur, many more consumers have been thronging the market early in the morning from across the city since the FBCCI gave the market monitoring team the formalin detection machines on September 19.
‘Now I come here whenever I need to buy fish, vegetables or fruits,’ Abul Kalam Azad, who came from Basabo, said.
Azad, an expatriate Bangladeshi who lives in USA, came to Bangladesh a few days ago.
‘I had been worried about the rampant use of formalin in Bangladesh which I came to know from newspaper reports. After I came to Bangladesh, I found that this market is formalin-free,’ he said.
Every kitchen market should take such initiative to prevent the use of formalin, the deadly preservatives, he said.
FBCCI has a plan to provide these detection machines in 10 more kitchen markets in the city in the coming days.
Nurul Haque Nuru, another staff of Malibagh Traders Unity Council that monitors the market, said that they had fined three traders Tk 30,000 in the last seven days for selling formalin-mixed food items.
‘Our team remains in the market for the whole day. If any customer wants to check his food items after buying, we check it. We have also carbide detection machine to find out the chemicals in the fruits,’ he said.
Md Shamim Bhuiyan, general secretary of Malibagh Market Traders Cooperatives Ltd, said that they were getting a good response from the consumers and would continue their drive against the use of hazardous chemicals.
‘I bought fish worth Tk 50,000 few days back from Karwan Bazar wholesale market. There was no formalin detection machine there. I had to count a heavy loss as my fish was not allowed in Malibagh market,’ said Md Sultan, a fish shop owner at the market.
Faruk, who was barred from entering the market with formalin-mixed fish, said he would now go to other market to sell the fish.
‘It is now very difficult to get formalin-free fish and vegetables from the city’s wholesale markets and prices of these commodities are a little bit high,’ said Shamim.
‘Unless the government ensures formalin-free wholesale markets, some of the retailers will continue to incur losses,’ he said.

-With New Age input

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