Hawk’s eye needed to check adulteration

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Health experts at a recent seminar have warned the citizens against use of adulterated food stuff as according to them the openly-sold adulterated food products are taking toll on the health of the masses. They stressed the need to establish consumer courts in lower courts of all districts of Sindh province which need proper coordination between all stakeholders and the government machinery. The adulterated goods including food and other eatable products are not only a serious health hazard for the consumers, but they cheat the government of revenue, infringe on intellectual property rights of the original manufacturer, have a negative effect on investment and tarnish the image of Pakistan. Eating out can indeed be considered a national pastime, with eateries of all varieties packed with gastronomes across Pakistan. However, there are very real concerns about the quality of foodstuffs served in even some of the supposedly big-name restaurants. There should be registration of licensing. Just imagine, right now anybody can open food outlet such as hotel, carts or others, no matter selling hygienic or unhygienic food. Government machinery needs to become active to check the quality of food being sold at public places. The provincial food department and Pakistan Standards & Quality Control Authority need to have hawk eye over food items in order to maintain standard. In the prevailing situation, children are the most victims. In Pakistan there are around 1.2 children who fall victim to diarrhea, hepatitis A & E, typhoid fever and others diseases. Another related issue is selling of low quality food items outside schools. There are various brands selling sub-standard quality edible items. As such there is an urgent need for action against the dangers of fake products including food and life saving drugs in Pakistan. Consumer rights are now becomes Human rights and Human rights are the basis on which civil society moves towards an advanced state of social development. One must agree with the seminar findings and one must call on Pakistani traders to realize consumers’ importance not only for the betterment of their businesses but for the strong economy. We are the worst nation in the world in terms of consumer rights in masses, need special focus on rural populated areas are the main victim of counterfeit products. There is an urgent requirement for setting up consumer court in Sindh under the Sindh Consumer Protection Bill 2014, to protect consumers’ right as well as to end the nefarious practice of adulteration, counterfeiting and overcharging by the traders and openly sold adulterated food products are taking people lives. One must ask Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Sindh to establish Consumer Courts at the earliest so that the hapless citizens of Sindh are protected from counterfeit, lookalike, substandard products and services. It may be mentioned here Sindh is the only province that remains without consumer courts despites passing of food authority bill or Sindh Consumer Protection Law by the Sindh assembly in 2015. Whatever deceptions consumers are badly facing in the market because of the absence of consumer Courts. It may be mentioned here that in March this year, Sindh established its first Food authority. This is a step in the right direction and one may laud PPP government for spearheading the campaign. With PPP efforts, Sindh also seems to have woken up to the need for a proactive food authority. It was in March this when during the Sindh Assembly session; the house passed the Sindh Food Authority Bill, 2016. Once this bill receives the governor’s assent, it will pave the way for the creation of the Sindh Food Authority. Details of the law state that bureaucrats, lawmakers, food technologists and members from the food industry will be part of the authority. It is welcome that lawmakers, technocrats and people from the food industry itself will have representation in the new body to ensure that there is no misuse of power. The new authority in Sindh must keep two goals in mind: firstly, it must concentrate on enforcing the law across the province, so that only quality food and drink are served in restaurants and eateries in Sindh. The enforcement regime should cover the big names as well as more humble establishments where the common man eats. Secondly, the process of inspection of food establishments must be transparent and unbiased, so that there are no accusations of harassment. In a nutshell, adulteration of food and serving edibles of questionable quality are major problems in our society. It is hoped that the establishment of this authority will help keep a check on these harmful practices that take a huge toll on human health. Food adulteration is the process in which the quality of food is lowered either by the addition of inferior quality material or by extraction of valuable ingredient. Food adulteration is very important issue for public health. Unsafe food is causing many diseases in the country.

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