Improving food safety in Bangladesh

Specialized Training of National Food Safety Laboratory personnel in leading laboratories abroad


Over the past two years, 15 analysts and technologists are being provided intensive hands-on training on analytical methods in chemistry and microbiology at the National Food Safety Laboratory, Institute of Public Health by project personnel. Method development for the detection of chemical and microbiological contaminants has been prioritized and till date test methods assuring reliable and repeatable qualitative and quantitative determination of 45 parameters have been implemented. These include pesticide residues, heavy metal content, veterinary drug residues, additives, colours, mycotoxins, quality parameters and food-borne pathogens.

As a step towards providing exposure to the operations and analysis at state-of-the-art food safety laboratories abroad, 9 analysts and technologists were sent to attend two-week training courses at premier reference and regulatory laboratories in UK and the USA. Both these laboratories are linked together as International Food Safety Testing Laboratories. Each of the courses dealt with the development of fit-for-purpose methods to analyse chemical and microbiological contaminants that are considered widespread in Bangladesh.

Ms. Shahnaz Rahman and Dr. Matiur Rahman attended a training course ‘Pesticides Residue in Food’ at the reference laboratory of the Food and Environment Research Agency in York, United Kingdom. The course covered all aspects of pesticide residue analysis in food from sample collection through to analysis using liquid chromatography, gas chromatography and mass spectrophotometry.

Mr. Md. Rezaul Karim, Mr. Md. Saiful Islam and Mr. Md. Azizul Hoque attended training courses on ‘Methods for the identification of Salmonella and Campylobacter in food’ and ‘Methods for the identification of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli in foods’ at the Joint Institute of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the University of Maryland, USA. The programme focused on strengthening their skills in the isolation and identification of food-borne pathogens and introduced them to new advances in PCR and serological testing.

Mr. Md. Minhajul Islam and Mr. Rajesh Kumar Saha attended the training course on ‘Methods of determination of veterinary drug residues in fish meat and poultry at JIFSAN. The NFSL is currently developing methods to detect these key residues in the food supply in Bangladesh and the training helped the analysts to enhance their understanding of method validation and the detection of multiple drugs at the same time.

Ms. Panna Wahed and Ms. Farida Rahman attended the training course on ‘Methods for the determination of mycotoxins’. Mycotoxins are metabolites produced by opportunistic fungi that grow on food. Aflatoxins produced by Aspergillus are a common example. This course covered the FAO mycotoxin sampling tool and their determination using ELISA, liquid chromatography and mass spectrophotometry.

The Food Safety Programme thanks FERA and JIFSAN for the excellent training provided.