Speakers at a programme on Monday said Bangladesh needed a clear-cut regulation on disposal of used cooking oils and developing a system of its recycling.
Restaurants and households generate adequate quantities of used cooking oil every day and many again use it for the consumption purposes.
The street vendors, low grade restaurants and such small food and beverage factories use it violating the related rules.
Use of such oil for the consumption purpose affects human organs and breeds many fatal diseases including cancer. Such oil even infects humans' blood cells.
Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) and Muenzer Bangla Private Limited, a subsidiary of Munzer Bioindustrie of Europe, organised the virtual dialogue on Policy of Developing Collection System for Used Cooking Oil in Bangladesh.
Abdul Kayowm Sarker, chairman at the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) joined the meeting as the chief guest.
Mr Sarker said the government took a move to prepare a policy on the issue that would address many issues relating to use of edible oil and trans-fat contents in food.
According to Food Safety Hygiene Regulation 2018's section 7(a), nobody can use any by-products of food preparation.
"Used cooking oil is a kind of waste product at restaurants and food industries, hence it must not be applied to further use as it violates the Food Safety (Hygiene) Regulation, 2018".
The BFSA chairman said that BFSA was keen to develop a strategy for recycling of used cooking oil so that it could be safely used for further value addition and safe waste disposal.
"We will cooperate with scientific and logistic support to any steps, which have proper logical, scientific and environment-friendly methods and that will come through a proper way", he said.
Monzur Morshed Ahmed, member at the BFSA, said there were many health safety issues regarding the use of used cooking oil.
He said used cooking oil could be used as value added products taking the environmental aspects into account.
"There should be guidelines from the government for collecting used cooking oil and developing a clear strategy for collecting it", he said.
BUILD CEO Ferdaus Ara Begum who moderated the programme underscored the need for initiating policy support by the government for a formal system of collection of used cooking oil in Bangladesh.
"We require a formal policy prescription from our government to transition from existing informal channels for reused cooking oil towards a formal channel for collection of used cooking oil and its recycling", she said.
Bangladesh imports over 3.0 million tonnes of edible oil while only a negligible portion is collected as used cooking oil mostly by informal actors that they sell back to cheaper restaurants.
Dr. Latiful Bari, Chief Scientist, Food Analysis and Research Centre for Advanced Research of Sciences, gave a presentation on Developing Collection System for Used Cooking Oil in Bangladesh.
Mr Bari said reuse of cooking oil increases the cholesterol, creates peroxides acid, causes cancer and so on. Cooking oil with a high percentage of polar compounds is the prime cause for some of the worst diseases.
Harald SIGL, Head of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at Muenzer Bioindustry, Austria/Europe, said that it was indispensable to have a clear legal regulation on collection of used cooking oil.
"It is an urgent necessity to stop reselling of used cooking oil on the foodstuff and product market by law. I think we all agree on this mission. So it is consequently necessary to create a structured and also regulated collection system", he said.
"Waste should only be disposed of by certified disposing companies," he said.
Fahad Saleh, Chief Operating Officer of Muenzer Bangla, gave a presentation on Münzer's National Used Cooking Oil Collection Mission for Bangladesh.
"We will provide the needed testing method for our partner-restaurants. This will raise awareness and help owners and chefs to handle and dispose of Used Cooking Oil properly", Mr. Saleh said.
Md. Masud Alam, National Food Safety Consultant, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), stated that ensuring food safety for food sold by street vendors was one of the prime objectives of FAO.
"Waste management is one of the core issues of FAO's initiative to ensure proper disposal of waste", he ssid.
Syed Muhammad Shoaib Hasan, CEO, HIFS Food and President of BAPA, informed that BSTI permitted use of used cooking oils when the acid level does not exceed the level-four parameter.
"In this regard, a quick testing facility can be helpful to assess the state of used oil", he went on.
Md. Abdur Rahim, Joint Secretary (Export-2 Section), Export Wing, Ministry of Commerce, said that they would consider allowing used cooking oils in export if there is a proper recommendation from stakeholders.
Monzur Morshed Ahmed, member of the BFSA, said that there were many health safety issues regarding the use of used cooking oil.
Used cooking oil could be used as value added products taking the environmental aspects into account. There should be a guideline for collecting used cooking oil and developing the recycling strategy in the country, Mr. Ahmed said.
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