LAHORE: Lauding the role of the provincial food watchdog in keeping a strict check on adulterated food, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said availability of edible items to the people according to health standards will be ensured at all costs.
He expressed these views while addressing a video conference at the Civil Secretariat on Tuesday. The video conference, which lasted for two hours, held a detailed review of the performance of Punjab Food Authority (PFA) and its future line of action.
“The elements involved in the preparation of unhygienic food deserve no leniency and should be in jail. Adulteration of food items is a heinous crime,” he said.
“If the responsibility is fulfilled with hard work and commitment, then success will be achieved and the people cannot be left at the mercy of any adulteration mafia.”
Shehbaz directed the authorities to take indiscriminate action against the elements involved in adulteration and said he would go to any extent to provide the right of quality eatable items to the people. He said that action should be initiated after registration of cases against the violators.
He said cultivation of vegetables in contaminated water tantamount to playing with the human lives and directed the PFA to continue its crackdown against farmers involved in growing vegetables in contaminated water. He said the elements selling unhygienic items like ghee, cooking oil, milk, tea, spices and other things are a social menace as well as open enemies of the humanity.
He said food courts should be constituted for PFA and immediate steps be taken to include measures relating to the food safety in the syllabus.
“The scope of PFA should be extended to the schools of all 36 districts of the province by December,” he remarked.
Shehbaz directed the authorities to improve the core capacity of the PFA, adding that immediate steps should be taken in this regard. He further said mechanism of third-party audit should be designed and a short, medium and long-term plan, along with timeline, be devised to curb the menace of preparation and sale of unhygienic food items.
The chief minister also appreciated the performance of PFA Director General Noorul Amin Mengal and his team in the establishment of a healthy Punjab.
“It is the mission of the Punjab government to save the people from different diseases by ensuring the provision of healthy food items to them.”
He also called for accelerating public awareness campaigns regarding safe and healthy food items. DG PFA Noorul Amin Mengal gave a briefing about the working of the authority.
Provincial Minister Mukhtar Barth, chief secretary, Punjab IG, secretaries of the departments concerned and experts attended the meeting from civil secretariat through the video link.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2017.