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PFA bars 283 workers from food making on medical grounds


May 17, 2018

LAHORE: The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has declared 283 food handlers belonged to different food businesses ‘ill’ and stopped them from participating in the process of food manufacturing after the results of their medical report were positive.

This was informed on Wednesday in a monthly progress report of the medical screening facility from April 15 to May 15. According to the report, PFA took the blood samples of 3,588 food handlers. Out of them, 3,305 passed and 283 failed the medical screening tests. Out of the 283 food handlers screened positive, 58 were found suffering from the hepatitis C virus (HCV), 45 from hepatitis B virus (HBV), 47 from tuberculosis (TB) epidemic and 133 suffering from typhoid illness. A spokesperson for the PFA, Qaiser Abbas, said laboratories had been established for medical tests of food handlers/workers to ensure the presence of healthy workers in the food industry, adding that there was no place for sick workers in the industry.

He said 17,290 people had been diagnosed in PFA’s Lahore laboratory over the last four months. He said that PFA was providing a facility of six different tests; HCV, HBV, HIV, TB, complete blood count (CBC) and typhoid, in their laboratories.

He said a sick person could not participate in the process of preparation of food and can’t touch food products according to the PFA law. The authority never recommended the food industry to fire the ill workers. He said the food industry should ensure funds for their workers suffering from diseases, adding that PFA had allocated funds for such workers. After diagnosing illness in any food workers, PFA immediately refers them to the Health Department and other departments concerned for medical treatment, he added.

Meanwhile, PFA has released a comprehensive diet plan for fasting people in Sehr and Iftar during Ramazan. The authority has suggested the people prefer fiber-rich food and dairy products in Sehr as they provide energy to human body and improve digestive system during the long hours of fasting.

People should take porridge, rice, bread, fruits and green vegetables especially. As well as, people should ensure intake of dairy products. People should avoid eating meat, chicken and tea along with oily food.

In Iftar, everyone should take well-balanced diet instead of overeating which may cause food poisoning especially among children. People should drink lemonade and avoid carbonated drinks and other sweet beverages. People should prefer homemade food and avoid junk food. People should exercise on a daily basis especially in Ramazan.

A spokesperson for the PFA said that people could visit the recently launched PFA Nutrition Clinic for their diet plan. PFA has also revised the office hours and the operation strategy of its teams for the holy month of Ramazan. A PFA spokesperson said the PFA office would remain opened from 8am to 2pm from Monday to Thursday while from 8am to 12noon on Friday in Ramazan.

The PFA field teams will follow the old time schedule. PFA has increased the number of operation teams from two to three. The PFA has constituted special teams to check the food businesses at Sehr and Iftar time. The spokesman said that PFA Director General Noor ul Amin Mengal had directed the teams to continue the operation vigorously against the food business operators involved in the crime of food adulteration and selling poor quality food.

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