Formalin in Food: Venom in Disguise of Ambrosia

Probir Kumar Sarkar

Adulteration of food with toxic chemicals harmful to health has reached an epidemic proportion in Bangladesh. The newspapers have dubbed it as the ‘silent killer’. It is very difficult to find a sector of food industry which is free of adulteration. From raw vegetable and fruits to milk and milk products to fish, meat and processed food–every food item is contaminated. Almost every day in the news papers, newer and newer methods of adulterating newer and newer types of foods are reported. Carbide, formalin, textile colours, artificial sweeteners, DDT, urea etc. are used rampantly for this purpose.1 Contamination of foods with toxic chemicals pose a serious threat to public health in our country due to poor health literacy and awareness.2 All incidents of food adulteration are united by a common and noble motive-the reduction of post-harvest loss. In 2009, the Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that 40-50 per cent of the global crop of fruit and vegetables is lost annually to spoilage or waste. In a world where hunger is still commonplace, the scale of this loss is concerning.


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