However, the recent disclosures have brought this entity’s credibility into question. AsrIran — a news agency with ties to the Reformists — has accused the Standards Organization of lying and inconsistency in connection with Damavand.
In the past few months, there have also been reports about the mass processing of chicken containing lead in Tehran’s slaughterhouses, the unsanitary use of chicken paste in the production of sausages and salami, as well as contaminated sugar cubes.
Yet, it seems that these producers face no major legal repercussions. In an Oct. 13 news conference, the health minister complained about the low fines set for “food fraud,” somewhere between 5 and 20,000 toman ($1.60-$6.60). “These fines are truly sad. And it’s been 30 years since these laws were put in place, and still they have never been reviewed,” Hashemi said.
Majid Haghani, a health and food safety analyst in Tehran, told Al-Monitor that complicated bureaucracy has prevented true offenders from being punished. However, he is still hopeful for the future and said, “We should realize that it’s been only in the past one or two years that social groups and independent media have become aware of the vital issue of consumer rights and are seriously following up on it. And even that is thanks to the disclosures made by the health minister and the media, and this is good news.”
In the absence of strict rules, he suggested, “One of the important things in the current situation is to form completely independent and people-oriented NGOs to monitor the quality of products. Then, social campaigns can be launched to sanction the violating producers and their products. In a situation where there is a legal vacuum, it is popular pressure that can strongly punish such producers.”