Khulna, June 20 (UNB) – City dwellers amid scorching heat search for water or ice cream mostly while traveling and taking advantage of that, some dishonest businesses are luring them into having fake ice cream produced in shockingly unhygienic conditions.
Numerous illegal ice-cream factories have been popping up to meet the increasing demand of ice-cream in summer.
Most of the factories are operating without any license or valid documents from the concerned authorities, falling below the radar and using chemicals to make more profit leaving human health mostly of children in hazard.
During a recent visit to several such ice-cream factories here, UNB correspondent found them producing ice-cream in unhygienic environment. Some of the factories are contained in rooms measuring barely 20 to 25 square feet.
The most alarming thing is that these factories are buying popular, reputed labels like Kiranmala, Kiranmala Fulki, Ittadi, Quality Ice-cream, Cadbury, Special Chocobar, Orange, Lolli to brand their sub-standard, even hazardous products.
The ice-creams containing unhealthy ingredients like cube sugar, saccharin, dye, arrowroot powder are nevertheless being presented to consumers in lovely packaging.
Recently, mobile courts sealed and fined some illegal ice bars but their activities resumed some days later.
Three factories in city’s Azad Laundry intersection, two in Baghmara near Sonamoni School, two in Phultala, one in Gollamari Bank Colony, one in Tutpara Farid area, one in Natun Rasta, one in Daulatpur and one in Labonchora have been making fake ice-cream within their premises. They don’t even have a sign board.
Talking to UNB, Akhi Akhter of Baghmara, said “I bought an ice-cream for my kid once as it was very hot weather, but before we could return home she had to be admitted to hospital due to sickness after having that.”
The ice-cream contains harmful ingredients. The administration should take steps against these factories who make unhygienic ice-creams, she added.
Asaduzamman, a businessman of Dak Bangla Mor, said the government should shut down these illegal ice-cream factories. More mobile courts should be conducted not to fine them only but close these unlicensed factories if irregularities found.
Sheikh Khakan, owner of New Iva Icebar in Gollamari, said “I have closed my factory as a mobile court fined me Tk 12,000 some days ago.”
Only a few ice-cream factories are running with legal documents in the city. Factories without legal papers or license use detrimental ingredients to produce ice-cream in unhygienic and dirty environment, he said.
Khulna Civil Surgeon ASM Abdur Rajjak said “ice-creams produced using harmful chemicals in dirty environment have high health risk. It damages children’s bone, liver, kidney and lead to blood cancer if it is consumed.”
Moreover, it has huge negative effect on mental development of children, he added.
Md Abdul Mannan, director of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) in Khulna, said businessmen must take approval from BSTI to run the factories. We have been taking actions against illegal factories, he added.
Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection assistant director Sikdar Shahnur Alam said, “We are conducting raids on a regular basis.”
Most of the ice-cream factories in Khulna don’t have BSTI or Environment Department’s license and they use harmful colour, flavor, unnamed packet, labels and we have already shut some of them down and fined them in recent drives.
District Additional Magistrate Md Yusuf Ali said “mobile courts are ongoing. But we take steps only when we get specific complaint.”