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Price-variety to be displayed on rice bags, effective from Sunday

News Desk || risingbd.com

Published: 18:37, 13 April 2024   Update: 19:02, 13 April 2024
Price-variety to be displayed on rice bags, effective from Sunday

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The selling prices, names of varieties, location, production date, manufacturing company and weight of rice will have to be displayed on all bags prior to distribution as per an earlier directive issued by the Ministry of Food.

The directive, signed and issued by Food Secretary Md Ismail Hossain on February 21, will come into effect from tomorrow (April 14).

The directives have been sent to all relevant officials, including the cabinet secretary, the principal secretary to the prime minister, the senior commerce secretary, the secretary of agriculture, the finance secretary, divisional commissioners, deputy commissioners, district and upazila food controllers.

The move comes as concerns are growing about inconsistent pricing and misleading labelling practices in the market.

The food ministry issued the directive after finding that rice from the same variety of paddy was sold under different names and prices, creating confusion and potential exploitation of consumers.

Millers, wholesalers, and retailers often blame each other when rice prices go up suddenly and become unreasonable, the ministry said in the notification.

As a result, consumers are facing problems to find desired varieties at fair prices, causing financial hardship to them, it said.

The ministry said the information must be printed, not handwritten, to ensure legibility and prevent tampering. Additionally, corporate bodies can choose to print the maximum retail price alongside the mill gate price for further transparency.

Any millers not complying with the directive risk facing legal action under the “Production, Storage, Transfer, Transportation, Supply, Distribution and Marketing of Food Products (Prevention of Prejudicial Activity) Act, 2023”.

As per the law, a person will face a maximum two-year imprisonment or a maximum of Tk10 lakh fine, or both, if the person markets any foodstuff manufactured from an approved variety of foodgrain under a different or fictitious name without mentioning it as a by-product of such variety.

A person will face the same punishment in the case of manufacturing or marketing food products by removing or altering any natural ingredient in whole or partially; or manufacturing or marketing artificial ingredients harmful to human health with foodstuffs.

According to the bill, if any person makes, prints, publishes, circulates or distributes any false information regarding the production, storage, transfer, transportation, supply, distribution and marketing of foodstuff, the person will face the maximum five-year imprisonment or the highest Tk10-lakh as fine or both.