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January 1, 2015

Dismal performance of Punjab Food Authority


January 1, 2015

Adulterated food’s unchecked availability across the city has created serious health issues for hundreds of thousands of people owing to the poor performance of Punjab Food Authority (PFA) during 2014.
The Punjab Food Authority (PFA), which is the sole authority to enforce food-related laws in the provincial metropolis, has completely failed to ensure its presence and protect the people from adulterated and unhygienic food and edibles.
During the year, the PFA checked 103,099 shops, hotels, restaurants, marriage halls, water plants, manufacturing units and etc out of which it sealed only 2,181 entrepreneurs putting a question mark on its performance.
The authority also issued notices to only 24,164 businesses for unhygienic conditions and in most of the cases the businesses were back to the same state of affairs after some hours or the next day.
During the whole year, the authority collected only 10,577 samples of various edibles which were far less than the perceived targets. Despite a hue and cry over adulterated food especially grains and spices not a single sample was taken from Akbari Mandi, the biggest grain and spices market in the provincial capital.
The action and campaign of the PFA against water filtration plants also failed as it only issued licences to 281 such plants while others continued to operate without any checks and balances. It is pertinent to mention that most of these unregistered water filtration plants are supplying tap water to the citizens in the name of mineral water and many of them are suffering from dangerous diseases especially different types of hepatitis due to these water plants.
Milk adulteration remained on top of all the food items and the PFA again failed to ensure supply of hygienic and nutritious milk to the citizens during the year. The authority collected 4,300 milk samples out of which 2,604 were rejected due to presence of dangerous chemicals. However, supply of milk containing

formolime, urea and other hazardous chemicals continued in the nook and corner of the city.
During the year 2014, the authority also failed to check and ensure purity in the Ramazan, Model and Sasta Bazaars. Statistics show that during the last Ramazan, the authority closed down only 15 stalls in all the Ramazan and Model Bazaars of nine towns during 3,039 raids. During these raids, the PFA teams only confiscated 38 kg Baisan, 114 kg Ketchup, 32 liter juice, 18 kg ghee, 32 kg salt, 3 kg corn floor, 4 kg Chat Masala, 11 kg Bhally, 62 kg pulses and 2,353 liter juice.
During the year, adulteration in food items from milk to beverages, bottled water, fruit and vegetable products, oil and fats, spices, tea, sauces, sweetening agents and sweets and backing products went on unchecked in the provincial metropolis. Both low and high-priced category edibles were no exception and one could easily find adulterated and contaminated items in the city.

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