I was walking in a street of Dhaka. I saw a vendor with some berries. They were looking delicious. But suddenly a thought came to my mind; I had read an article about formaldehyde-a chemical used for keeping foods for a certain time. After staying in Seattle for 5 weeks, everyday I have gone to the District Market and take organic apples and thinking if I have them in Dhaka.
“I take an organic banana everyday,” says Michael Levkowitz, a University of Washington student. 25% of his daily food items are organic. “As I cannot afford to buy organics everyday I farm some vegetables,” says Meredith, a student of International Agriculture.
So what is organic food? And why does it matter?
According to Huffington Post, Newcastle University study said, organic foods have more anti-oxidants-(It’s a type of vitamin) they are grown up with less pesticide. The term organic means the way agricultural products are grown and produced. Beyond eating more fruits, vegetables, there is a question of food safety. Organic foods are grown up with natural fertilizers. Pesticides also controlled naturally. But just because organic food is available in Seattle—it doesn’t mean everyone can access it.
People here like organic foods more. Kailyn a student from Seattle said that 50% of her daily foods are organic. But most people like young students said, as organics are more expensive so they do not try it.
“I live happily off wholesale organic thinks stocked up from cheapest locations. But if it’s already foreign and affordable just as inorganic, I buy whichever is best by situation”, another UW student Charles Warner said. Organic foods are often more expensive than the conventionally growing food. Farmers and vendors tell that organic things take more time and effort. Many students of UW and other international students think so. And price isn’t the only concern; some consumers worry the organic label doesn’t do enough.
I’m going home in 2 wks. How can this new knowledge help me eat more healthily on the streets of Dhaka.
“What should I eat? If I take beef it might be contaminated with some vaccines for the cow. And the dairy farms would tell they just use the vaccine only to grow their cows up. How come?” said Mitu, a student from University of Dhaka. Not only meat but also fish, fruits, vegetables all of them are contaminated. Their fertilizers and pesticides contaminate some of them. Some of them are contaminated when they are kept to ripe, some others when farmers use chemical to make them good looking!
Shahria Hossain Ria, a journalist from television media in my country, she has made a lots of report over this problem. She told that the berries we eat everyday is mixed with 100% formaldehyde. Again mangoes, tomatoes, litchis, water melons everything is contaminated with formaldehyde.
In Bangladesh, there are something common with USA in the sense of food. Vendors and sellers who sell fruits and vegetables without formaldehyde want a very high price. But there are so many people who do not have much money to buy food. Again there are not enough labeling in Bangladesh.
There are some strict laws in the USA for food safety. One of them is Pure Food and Drug Administration. Like that The constitution of Bangladesh has an article 15, which provides the provision for basic necessities including food. There is another article 18 (1) for rising of level of nutrition and improvement of public health. Government take some initiatives like mobile court, law imposing etc. But this is not a fruitful effort.
We can take an initiative for using bio-fertilizer with the cow dung, compost garbage etc. We could use the pesticides, which are much more natural and a large amount of water like the community far in the USA.
So will I eat those berries next time I see them? Not sure, gonna get my feel of organic ones in the next two weeks.