Having failed to maintain standard parameters for products, 52 branded factory units faced either cancellation or suspension of licences against some of their substandard products, including mustard oil, drinking water, turmeric power, chilli powder, iodised salt, vermicelli, ghee and chips. The other products are honey, fermented milk, chanachur, biscuits and flour. The companies whose licences for producing particular products were suspended included prominent brands like City Oil Mill, Bangladesh Edible Oil Ltd, Kashem Food Products, Duncan Products, Pran Agro Ltd, New Zealand Dairy Products BD Ltd, Danish Food Limited, ACI Food Limited, Shabnam Vegetable Oil, and Banalata Sweets and Bakery.
The Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), in its recent tests, detected the substandard products and cancelled licences of nine factory units and suspended licences of 43.
The BSTI took action against Teer, Pusti, Rupchanda and GB brand of mustard oil as its test found excessive iron of 8ppm-9ppm in the products, against the permissible limit of 5ppm, according to BSTI sources.
In drinking water of Duncan, Morn Dew, Ara, Al Safi, Mizan, RR Dew and Dighee, the BSTI found less or more pH value, against the acceptable pH value of 6.4-7.4 and higher quantity of plate count of 5,000 to 7,000 against the permissible plate count of 1,000.
The standardisation watchdog found less or more pH value in ACI, Mollah, Modhumoti, Dada super, Tin Teer, Modina, Starship, Taj and Noor Special brand of salt, instead of the permissible pH value of 6.4-7.4. Many of them have inappropriate ratio of iodine or moisture, sources said. The BSTI took action against Pran, Mistimela, Modhumela, Mithai and Well Food brand of vermicelli, as it found excessive fat content of 37-38 per cent, against the acceptable parameter of 30 per cent.
Similarly, the Sun brand of chips failed to meet the acceptable level of fat of 30 per cent. The BSTI found 37 per cent of fat content.
The BSTI identified turmeric powder with brand name of Danish, Pran, Fresh, Sun, Dalphin and chilli powder with brand name of Pure Hathazari, Surja and noodles with brand name of doodle as substandard for presence of lead or moisture beyond permissible levels.
Besides, ghee with the brand name of Banolata, Baghabari Special was identified as substandard for inappropriate ratio of fat, iodine, saponification, RM and polenske value in the product.
The action came amid repeated interventions by the High Court over food safety since the results of the BSTI tests were made public on May 2.
The BSTI in its tests found low iron in mustard and vegetable oils, high fat, moisture, lead contents in spices and chips, high bacteria in drinking water and less iodine in salt, said a BSTI official.
It also found moisture and fat content higher than the recommended level in the vermicelli sample collected from the market, while chilli powder was not fine enough and left higher amount of ash than permitted when burnt, he said.
The High Court, on May 12, called for BSTI test results before directing the authorities to stop sale of the products immediately and hold the companies accountable. Deputy director of the BSTI, Reazul Haque, said the action is part of their routine work to maintain the standard of products.
He said the national standardisation authority also asked the companies concerned to recall their products from the market within 48 hours and refrain from further marketing and advertisements. It urged customers not to buy these products.
Earlier, the BSTI collected samples of some 406 products of different companies randomly from the market, ahead of the month of Ramadan. It has received reports on 313 of the products, of which it identified 52 that failed to fulfill the due parameters, meaning that they are substandard.