Syeda Sayema Naba
People are now fasting and preparing for the approaching Eid celebrations, which are taking place in the next few days. We are likely to have a variety of foods available for Iftar during this time period, but we cannot guarantee the quality. Most people are eating cheap, greasy, roasted street meals from local markets, and they are completely clueless about what they should be eating. Because fasting days cause the body to be unable to access glucose and water components, consumers should ensure that they have enough nourishment and water in their bodies. Fruits, vegetables, meat protein, minerals, and water provides nutrients. As an example, dates are a good source of carbs as well as potassium. An 81-calorie serving of dates has one gramme of protein, one gramme of fat, twenty-four grammes of carbs, twenty-four grammes of sugar, sixteen grammes of fibre, and 210 milligrammes of potassium. In addition to being very useful for the digestive system, black chana, or Bengal gram, also increases energy levels, stabilises blood pressure levels, and helps to decrease cholesterol levels. It is also well-known for its ability to prevent cancer. Bengali people have the practice of consuming roasted, greasy, and fatty street meals, which are harmful to their health.
Food should be eaten with the intention of attribution of a meal and consumer science in consideration. High-quality food guarantees that the correct features of a meal are achieved via sensory attributes, food properties, chemical composition, amount of ingredients used in the preparation, presence of contaminants, and packaging. Products containing dangerous materials or excessive use of chemical compounds do not taint such objects. However, the issue arises as to whether or not we are all able to get high-quality meals within our financial means. Is it feasible to secure both the quality of the dinner and the price of the meal? The primary objective of eating is to satisfy our desires while maintaining good health. However, since it must be bought, the cost may be a factor in determining whether or not to get it.
Some foods that we have to increase the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as raise cholesterol levels and inflammatory markers in the body. When malnutrition is present in other seasons, individuals are more susceptible to a variety of health problems such as Kwashiorkor, Marasmus, anaemia, scurvy, hypocalcemia, osteomalacia, and vitamin k deficiency, Pellagra, and so on. More than half of the world’s population suffers from malnutrition and illnesses. Acute malnutrition affects more than 400,000 children, with 52 per cent of children under the age of five suffering from anaemia and another 41 per cent of children under the age of five being stunted. A percentage of women are underweight, and 15% are short-statured, putting them at risk for difficult childbirth and anaemia.
The most pressing issue addressed in this article is why high-quality meals are not being disseminated to the general public, as well as the reasons behind this. Following the outbreak of the coronavirus, the poverty rate increased to 25 per cent by 2021. According to the Bureau of Indian Statistics, 1 crore 70 lakh people live below the poverty level. The poverty rate has risen to 42 per cent, according to the most recent poll conducted by the nongovernmental organisation South Asian Network on Economic Modelling (SANEM).
People are becoming poorer, and they are beginning to change their lives by taking out loans and withdrawing savings as a consequence of this. Because of their financial circumstances, individuals are more focused on hunger and less concerned with the quality of their food. Due to the fact that high-quality meals are not always within the reach of the average consumer, quality-assured food products are offered at large shopping malls and grocery stores at a premium price. Those things are sold at a set price, and there is no possibility to negotiate the price. Because the vast majority of people live below the poverty line, they are powerless and unable to acquire their items from such locations. The result is that these citizens must obtain their daily food from neighbourhood marketplaces. Sellers are ready to offer substandard goods at a cheap price in order to attract the attention of potential buyers.
At cheap prices, some of them are selling things that are decaying, polluted, or chemicalized. In addition, there is the problem of price hikes, which often go unchecked by the government and result in individuals’ using their right to vote. Not only does the Law on Consumer Rights prohibit adulteration, stockpiling, smuggling, black marketing, cheating or fraud in weight and measurement, or the sale of items at higher rates, but it also establishes penalties for anyone who engages in these practises. This law guarantees that consumers get high-quality food (Consumer Protection Act, 2009).
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030 globally. According to the Global Food Security Index 2020, Bangladesh was rated 84th out of 113 nations. Bangladesh, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is one of the nations with the highest incidence of malnutrition. In this case, laws should be strictly implied all over the country. The government should control the price hike issue and provide qualitative food in an affordable range. Public seminars and awareness among people about consuming foods should be raised. So the matter of concern is that preferring the quality of food is more important than affordability.
( Syeda Sayema Naba, Department of English, University of Asia Pacific)