The High Court today observed that the dairy farms and companies must produce pure, safe and hygienic milk and dairy products following the international standard in order to ensure sound health of the citizens of the country.
Providing the people with pure and hygienic food including milk and ensuring their sound health is a constitutional duty, the HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice KM Hafizul Alam said during hearing a suo moto (voluntary) rule issued over this issue.
The bench also said all concerned should remain careful so that foreign powdered milk cannot occupy the local market of milk and dairy products taking any opportunity.
This court will not pass any such order by which dairy farms and companies are affected and prejudiced, Justice Nazrul Islam Talukder said.
The bench came up with the observation after examining the compliance reports submitted by Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) and Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) on this issue.
BFSA’s lawyer Barrister Mohammad Faridul Islam placed the compliance report saying that the BSFA has already filed 10 cases with the Pure Food Court in Dhaka against 10 milk producing companies after finding harmful heavy metals in their pasteurised milk.
BSFA has issued warning against 15 more companies and fined Tk 17 lakh to different companies for adulteration of their milk and products, he said, adding that the BSFA will take necessary steps in accordance with law over this issue.
BSTI’s lawyer Barrister Sarkar MR Hassan told the court that expert opinions are needed to resolve the issue over the adulteration of milk and other foods.
After the hearing, the HC bench asked BFSA and BSTI to submit reports on the progress on the issue to it and fixed October 20 for passing further order.
On Sunday, another HC bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir Lytton ordered the authorities to stop production, distribution and sale of pasteurised milk of 14 companies for the next five weeks.
It also directed the authorities to guard against purchase and consumption of pasteurised milk of these companies, including some top brands such as Aarong, Igloo, Milk Vita (state-run) and Pran.
The HC bench gave the order after examining three separate laboratory test reports, which found that the milk of these companies contains antibiotics -- Oxytetracycline, Tetracycline and Ciprofloxacin -- as well as lead, a harmful heavy metal.
The 14 companies are: Aftab Milk and Milk Producer Ltd (Aftab), Akij Food and Bev-erage Ltd (Farm Fresh Milk), American Dairy Limited (MOO), Bangladesh Milk Producers’ Cooperative Limited (Milk Vita), Baro Awlia Dairy Milk and Foods Ltd (Dairy Fresh), BRAC Dairy and Food Project (Aarong Dairy), Danish Dairy Farm Ltd (Ay-ran) Ichhamoti Dairy and Food Products (PURA), Igloo Dairy Limited (Igloo), Pran Dairy Ltd (Pran Milk), Uttar Bango Dairy (Ultra), Purbo Bangla Dairy Food Industries (Arwa) and Tania Dairy and Food Products (Safe).
Today, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court passed a stay order clearing the way for Bangladesh Milk Producers’ Cooperative Limited (Milk Vita) to produce, distribute and sell pasteurised milk.
Chamber Judge of the SC Justice Md Nuruzzaman stayed for eight weeks a part of the High Court order that directed Milk Vita to stop production, distribution and sale of pasteurised milk for five weeks.
The apex court chamber judge passed the order following a petition filed by Milk Vita challenging the High Court order that directed the authorities to stop production, distribution and sale of pasteurised milk of 14 companies for the next five weeks.
However, the SC stay on the HC order would not be applicable for the 13 other dairy companies.
Milk Vita, a state-sponsored cooperative, is the key buyer of milk as it collects milk from 100,000 farmers across the country.