Radioactivity Testing Lab for imported food to come up at Mongla Port in Bangladesh

To monitor the radioactivity level in the imported food products, a laboratory is being developed at the Mongla port. This modern testing lab facility will ensure the imported foods are safe from detrimental radioactivity.

Presently, only the Chittagong port has such testing lab facility for imported food. However, all the food that are imported through the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport get tested at the head office of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) for radioactivity.

High radioactivity or radioactivity above specified level in various food products may cause cancer, leukemia, infertility, hair fall, genetic disorders and other complications in the human body. Human bodies exposed to excessive radioactivity are prone to have weak immune system along with mental disorders. That is why testing all imported food items for radioactivity is mandatory according to country’s import policy.

Yet controlled and modernized usage of radioactivity is being used for good in various fields including health industry. Radiotherapy, X-ray, PET/CT scan and many other such systems are developed using the radioactivity of different substance.

Director of Atomic Energy Centre at Chittagong, Shahadat Hossain told Nuclear Asia that all the food products that are imported using the Chittagong port get tested for radioactivity. The import policy of the government makes this testing mandatory. However, the food products that are being certified free of radioactivity at the exporter country, don’t require further testing in Bangladesh, he added.

According to the officials from Radioactivity Testing and Monitoring Laboratory (RTML) under the ministry of Science and Technology, a laboratory is there in Chittagong Medical College area that tests imported food for radioactivity at Chittagong port. This laboratory monitors radioactivity levels of the imported food products including dairy products, wheat, rice, pulse, gram, chocolate, juice, fruit, raw materials of medicine, refined and crude edible oil, sugar etc. The concerned authority also checks for the existence of heavy metals in soil, fish, shrimp, snail and other organic samples.

Atomic Energy Commission also monitors stress levels on marine fish and other marine animals. They also monitor arsenic and other detrimental substances in surface and underground water.

Dr. Abid Imtiaz, the chief scientist of Atomic Energy Commission told Energy Bangla that ports that don’t have the radioactive testing facility send the food samples to the headquarter for it.

The BAEC introduced RMTL in 1987 at the port city of Chittagong. To determine the level of radioactivity in the environment of the Bay of Bengal and coastal areas. The Atomic Energy Centre was then established in 2013. Since then RMTL has been operating under the aegis of the Atomic Energy Centre of Chittagong.

The radioactivity testing laboratory facilities are built to be clean and stay safe from radioactive pollution in the environment and food. The center will also involve in solving various environmental issues and conduct research and development activities on the coastal areas.