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Punjab food authority regulates packaged milk after Supreme Court decision

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News Analysis |

After the verdict and direction of the Supreme Court, Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has declared different brands of packaged milk as safe and healthy. The milk brands that passed the testing under the category of natural and pasteurized were Anhaar Milk, Daily Dairy, Doce Milk, Gourmet Milk, Nutrivo Milk, Achaa Milk, Adams Milk, Malmo Milk, Prema Milk and Pack Fresh.

The brands under the category of UHT treated milk included Haleeb, Olpers, Nurpur Milk, Nestle Milk Pack, Nestle Nesvita, Day Fresh and Good Milk. On 29th December, expressing concern and displeasure over the sale of substandard milk, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar directed the milk producing companies to ‘stop deceiving the public’ and mention the actual ingredients on their products.

However, it is pertinent to mention here that a majority of these brands were declared as unhygienic, which evoked serious uncertainty among the public who relied on packaged milk.

The Supreme Court’s two-member bench had commenced proceedings at the Supreme Court Lahore Registry on a petition filed by Barrister Zafarullah Khan against sale of substandard milk. The Chief Justice said the court did not stand to damage businesses but he could not allow milk companies to decieve unsuspecting consumers. The bench had also issued notices to seven tea-whitener and milk manufacturing companies including Shakarganj foods, Haleeb and Dalda foods.

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It also issued notices to two steroid manufacturing companies ICI Pharmaceutical and Ghazi Brothers. The CJP instructed the manufacturing companies of powder and pasteurised milk to write on their products in bold-letters that it is not milk. He also ordered the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to keep an eye on advertisements of these companies to ensure they tell the truth.

Authorities eventually termed these brands as safe for human health when they carried out the relevant tests themselves. PFA also recommended the public to consume packaged milk rather than loose milk, which is inclined to be adulterated.

Punjab Food Authority’s (PFA) Director General Noor ul Amin Mengal had informed the bench that milk-safety teams had been formed to examine samples of loose and packed milk on a regular basis. He also told the court that the government has banned steroid injections used to boost milk production in cows and buffalos and also cancelled licenses of several manufacturers.

Having acted in accordance with the verdict, the authorities have declared 17 different brands of packaged milk healthy and safe, after comprehensive tests conducted by renowned agencies such as PCSIR, ISO-17025 and Intertek, as per the official notification issued by the PFA’s web page.

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Hired agencies, on the directives of PFA, randomly collected milk samples of these brands in March, August and December of 2017. The samples underwent extensive tests within various physical, biological and chemical parameters (on a global standard) and ultimately, they were found acceptable for human consumption and overall health.

Previously, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had actually declared all these brands as fit for health, which was a verdict on the basis of comprehensive examination.

The authority differentiated between ten brands of packaged milk, which were treated through pasteurization and seven others treated through UHT.

The official announcement stated that PFA will again conduct sampling and testing of these brands in 2018, four times over the course of the year, in order to ensure the consistent supply and availability of hygienic milk throughout the province.

It warns all milk processing brands to keep milk up to the mark of local standards or consequences are to be faced in the near future. Previously, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had actually declared all these brands as fit for health, which was a verdict on the basis of comprehensive examination.

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However, it is pertinent to mention here that a majority of these brands were declared as unhygienic, which evoked serious uncertainty among the public who relied on packaged milk. Authorities eventually termed these brands as safe for human health when they carried out the relevant tests themselves.

PFA also recommended the public to consume packaged milk rather than loose milk, which is inclined to be adulterated.


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