LAHORE: The Punjab government has put off the appointment of 30 senior doctors as food inspectors until the establishment of the Punjab Food Authority.
These included medical superintendents and deputy medical superintendents of several government hospitals.
They were to have ex-officio powers of food inspectors under the Pure Food Rules of 2007, but these powers will now remain dormant until the establishment of the Punjab Food Authority, Dr Masood Ashraf, the district officer (food), told The Express Tribune.
Ashraf said that the law section of the Punjab Food Department was drafting rules of business for the Food Authority.
He said that with the appointment of the doctors, the number of food inspectors in the city would have moved up to 50.
He said at present there were only 10 inspectors but the CDGL Food Department had already submitted a summary to the DCO to hire 10 more.
These inspectors, he said, were empowered to check for adulteration and uphold hygienic standards across food manufacturing companies, hotels and restaurants.
Muhammd Ayub, the chief food inspector, said that the food department was in urgent need of 100 inspectors. He said that the department had proposed for the addition of 50 inspectors but now it would have to wait for the establishment of the Food Authority.
An official in the DCO’s office said that the proposed Food Authority would also decide if the powers delegated to the doctors would be a stopgap or a permanent arrangement.
He said that after the replacement of the West Pakistan Pure Food Rules of 1965 with the Pure Food Rules of 2007, health officers had gained the ex-officio powers of food inspectors.
The food inspectors, he said, had the power to search restaurant premises and their delivery vehicles and to detain food items. He added that they were authorised to raid markets, go-downs, shops or stalls to check the quality of food being manufactured or sold to the people.
Under Section 18 of the rules, they could also examine the utensils and containers being used in the preparation of food. Under sub-section 3, these could be seized and destroyed.
The doctors selected to be empowered as food inspectors included medical superintendents, deputy medical superintendents and other senior staff members of Mayo Hospital, Ganga Ram Hospital, Mental Hospital, Mian Munshi Hospital, Kot Khawja Saeed Hospital, Mozang Hospital, Lady Willington Hospital, Nawaz Sharif Hosptial and several district government hospitals.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2010.