Editorial: We’re Sick of Tainted Food and Lax Laws
It’s no wonder diarrheal diseases are the fifth leading cause of deaths in Indonesia, according to Health Ministry data.
Foods and drugs laden with hazardous chemicals and preservatives have long been a threat to the health and development of the nation’s children and adults alike.
According to a series of 2014 surveys by the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM), 20 percent of food sold in and around schools in Jakarta was prepared in unhygienic conditions or, upon testing, was found to be laden with dangerous chemicals such as formaldehyde, borax and textile dyes.
If that’s the case in the capital, where awareness and monitoring are presumably high, then the situation elsewhere may be much be worse.
Such food can cause both short-term poisoning and serious long-term problems, such cancer, blindness and death.
Such threats are hardly new. We periodically see high-profile raids and rhetoric, but tainted goods have continued to circulate for years. We can only guess that officials are not doing their jobs well enough, or they have taken bribes to turn a blind eye to these harmful practices.
Consumers in Indonesia deserve better: More enforcement, incentivized by asset confiscation powers for the BPOM, if need be, as well stiffer penalties for producers and retailers of tainted goods. The BPOM must also make better efforts to educate consumers, who to date have scarcely demanded to know where or how their the goods they consume are made.
We support Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s proposals for retailer certification, as well as stiffer penalties against those supplying and selling tainted food. If Jakarta shows it can be successful in the fight against these unscrupulous criminals, the nation will follow suit.
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Source: The Jakarta Globe