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December 23, 2017

PDA proposes harmonisation of standards


December 23, 2017

KARACHI: Pakistan Dairy Association (PDA) has suggested creating a Milk Board and "harmonisation of dairy standardisation" in the country, as Punjab Food Authority’s standards could not be followed in the whole country.

Rehan Saeed Khan, general manager corporate affairs, Engro Foods, told The News in an interview that the dairy association, a representative body of milk food processors and a few top farmers, has approached the prime minister on issues of standardisation and taxation etc, as it was difficult to follow standards of provinces, separately. “There should be one standard at the centre level and the provinces should follow that,” he said. He said the proposal of harmonisation of standards has been taken by the government, and would be discussed in the next meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

Punjab government has created a food authority that wants the federal government to follow its standards, while the private sector urges the federal government to standardise a policy that is followed by all provinces, including Gilgit-Baltistan. “The federal government has agreed to call upon provinces for their input on this issue,” Khan said. The dairy association has also suggested formation of ‘minimum pasteurisation law’ on grounds of Turkey and Egypt, and to discourage the sale of open milk, as it became unhygienic.

He informed that Pakistan claimed to be fourth or fifth largest milk producer in the world, but no animal census has been taken in the last 11 years. “This claim cannot be authentic until there is a census of animals in the country,” he said.

There has been no proper research and development of local breeds of animals in Pakistan. Some people in the industry claim that the Australian cow is actually a Pakistani breed, and so is the Thailand breed. “Sahiwal breed is found in Thailand,” he said.

Providing details of the proposed ‘milk board’, Khan said it would include all stakeholders, including agriculture and livestock ministries, dairy association as well as academic representatives.

It would work on dairy standards, dairy development, school milk development, milk consumption, taxation and trade issue. He informed that last year Pakistan imported 78,000 tons of dry milk, of which nearly 33 percent was used in the dairy industry while the rest was used by open milk sellers. “Dry milk cost is lower than open or fresh milk here. Engro Foods has been using it in its tea whitener products,” he informed. Khan suggested that the dairy industry should be given quota of dry milk with discount in the regulatory duty subjected to the purchase of milk from the local farmer.

He said Sindh Food Authority, which was also formed recently, says it would follow the standards of the federal authority. “We suggest that standards of PSQCA (Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority) should be implemented and followed by the provinces.”

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