Commerce ministry has sought necessary measures to stop selling unpacked soybean oil in the market in order to save consumers from being cheated and also protect their interests.
To this effect, officials say, a letter has been sent to industries ministry recently for required steps to sell packed soybean oil.
Commerce ministry has been monitoring the edible oil market regularly. It finds some problems in selling unpacked soybean by analysing the monitoring reports of the officials concerned, reads the letter.
Palm oil is cheaper than soybean oil. So, there is a risk to add palm oil to soybean oil, it continues.
There is a tendency to sell unpacked oil by kilogram, not by litre. For this, adds the letter, consumers are getting deprived in different ways.
The ministry believes that general consumers are reaping benefits of packed soybean sales in the market.
When asked, an official said, "Some dishonest traders are selling other edibles in the name of soybean oil. We've made the move to ensure genuine oil consumption."
Both ministries have agreed to work in this connection.
The country's annual edible oil import is an estimated 2.2-million tonnes-70 per cent palm oil and 30 per cent soybean oil, according to the Bangladesh Bank data.
However, a Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission analysis finds that soybean oil sells more in the market than its total import.
According to the officials, palm oil is currently sold in an unpacked format while soybean oil in both packed and unpacked formats.
Earlier this year, industries ministry sought commerce ministry's opinion regarding a proposed provision that no more soybean oil be sold in an unpacked format.
As soybean will be sold in plastic packs and PET bottles only, it can be easily differentiated from palm oil.
It will be sold under a brand name and mandatorily have a certificate from the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution.
PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate and is usually used for manufacturing plastic bottles for liquid or beverage consumption.
Palm oil, on the other hand, will only be sold in unpacked format in the market.
A senior commerce ministry said introduction of all-packed/PET bottled soybean oil would involve a price hike of the item to some extent at consumer level.
According to industries ministry, currently, around 70-per cent soybean oil is sold in unpacked format while only 35 per cent in PET bottle format.