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Punjab Food Authority on a Mission

Punjab Food Authority
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News Analysis |

The Punjab Food Authority has sealed a popular coffee house and a Chinese restaurant in Lahore and two fast food restaurants on the Lahore-Islamabad motorway rest-stops on Friday. These restaurants were accused of selling expired products, substandard kitchen conditions and for violating the hygiene code.

This fast-forward demeanor comes with no sharp contrast, however; the PFA has sealed and/or fined no less than 73 restaurants and food production units this year in Punjab. The Director-General PFA Noor Ul Amin Mengal and Provincial Food Minister Bilal Yasin have supervised some of these raids in person and Mr. Yasin has expressed his desire to impose a tighter grip on vendors selling substandard and hazardous food. Speaking to a media outlet he voiced his concern over the gravity of the matter.

Another individual in an industrial unit said: “We produce multiple carbohydrate products. Banaspati Ghee is perhaps the most popular culinary item of a Pakistani kitchen.

World Food Day: The food authority also observed ‘World Food Day’ earlier this month, with the theme “End Hunger, Improve Nutrition and Food Safety and Food Security”. On the occasion, the DG told the press that there are 700 teams comprising of more than 2000 food safety officers working around the province to ensure the provision of healthy food products to the public.

Read more: Soft drinks to be banned in schools

The Iron Lady, Ayesha Mumtaz: Former Director of Punjab Food Authority, Ayesha Mumtaz, was perhaps the most prominent member of the authority the province had ever seen. Her unforgiving demeanor made headlines last year. Ayesha Mumtaz not only shut down dangerous culinary practices in Punjab; she also assisted a special unit in Islamabad that charged food giants like Savour Foods and ChayeKhana.

Ayesha Mumtaz came under heavy criticism by consumers and restaurant owners for her tirade, but she was credited for not bowing out under pressure. The “Iron Lady” as christened by media outlets, Ayesha Mumtaz was removed from her charge and subsequently appointed in the Higher Education Department (Punjab).

Speaking to GVS, a marketing executive in a leading ghee company said that they were planning a counter narrative. “Ghee is an essential part of the Pakistani household.

The latest bombshell: The PFA has announced that it is going to shut down the production of Desi Ghee by 2020. This resolve came in after the PFA’s scientific research wing presented a report on the dangerous composition of Desi Ghee. The report said that Desi Ghee is composed of Trans-fatty acids, palmitic acids, and nickel, which contribute to heart diseases and liver dysfunctions.

Read more: Farmers threaten agitation if burden of taxes is not eased

The panel also observed that an average Pakistani individual consumes 18 kgs of Desi Ghee and Cooking Oil per annum whereas, in European countries, this amount is merely 3kgs. This is a major factor in the high number of heart diseases and their early onset in Pakistan.

The decision to ban Desi Ghee or Banaspati Ghee comes with heavy baggage. There are 17 major Ghee producers in Pakistan with production units in Islamabad, Faisalabad, and Karachi. These industrial magnates are planning a rebuttal. Speaking to GVS, a marketing executive in a leading ghee company said that they were planning a counter narrative.

The report said that Desi Ghee is composed of Trans-fatty acids, palmitic acids, and nickel, which contribute to heart diseases and liver dysfunctions.

“Ghee is an essential part of the Pakistani household. The composition stats concocted by the food authority are false. Desi Ghee is a healthy stimulant. The consumer will not stand with this move.’

Another individual in an industrial unit said: “We produce multiple carbohydrate products. Banaspati Ghee is perhaps the most popular culinary item of a Pakistani kitchen. It is not only a healthy food component, it also holds a cultural worth. It cannot be removed from the table with a false panel report.

Read more: Jag Lahore Jag aur bacha Pakistan ko!

The PFA is regarded as one of the most active bureaucratic bodies in Punjab in terms of its number of operations and other professional activities. Coping with a social ill as deeply entrenched as unhealthy food must have its tolls!


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