Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration food department, on hundreds of complaints lodged on Citizen Portal established by Prime Minister of Pakistan regarding the low standard milk in Capital, has come in action. In two month inspection visits, the team collected samples from more than 60 dairy farms and hotels, sent them to National Institute of Health (NIH) which found 52 samples toxic and contaminated posing a grave risk for human health. Daily Times learnt from scribe.
According to the officials of the food department, due to no food regulatory body in Capital Islamabad, the standard of food is low, toxic and degrading day by day.
The food department collected samples from surroundings of Islamabad from rural as well as sector areas, from dairy farms and milk shops, later verified by the NIH to being toxic and contaminated.
According to the medical results, all milk samples are below the standard of food laws violating the Punjab food authority standards particularly.
Lactometer Reading is a technique on the basis of which the ratio of water is checked in milk. According to LR results, the ratio of water in the milk is 22 to 28 percent. According to Punjab Pure Food (PPF), the minimum ratio of fats required in milk is minimum 5 percent, while all samples failed to fulfill the required standards. The ratio of fats in the assessed milk 0f 52 samples ranged from 0.8 to 2.7 percent
“Without establishing a food authority in capital, and strict action against violators, clean and standardized food provision is elusive”
According to PPF, the ratio of solids found in milk should be minimum 14 percent. However, all milk samples show only 5.2 to 9.48 percent of solids which are not only below the standards but toxic for human health.
According to the fresh investigation of Daily Times with various stakeholders in Islamabad, it is found that most of the milk supply is from Southern Punjab to the capital, on cheapest rates from Rs. 40 to 50 per Kilo.
An owner of 3 dairy farms, from where samples were being collected for medical inspection, confirmed to the scribe that around 200 milk shops are using the milk supplying from Southern Punjab on significantly lower rates. One of the food department officials confirmed Daily Times that the milk from South is toxic in nature. He added that the owners of these milks factories in Southern Punjab were using below the standard items just to provide it on cheapest rates to the milk shops in Islamabad.
When Daily times asked why food department performance is not satisfactory to counter these elements, official added that for whole Islamabad, with population more than 1 million and new sectors and markets swarming in hundreds, there are only 2 food inspectors and how is it possible to inspect whole city by 2 food inspectors. He added that without establishing a food authority in capital, it isn’t possible to provide clean and standardised food to its residents.
“Whenever they found any business guilty as such, Islamabad authorities would impose fine from 5 to 20 thousands and after receiving fines, they wouldn’t stop their business”, He added.
Senate Standing Committee on Interior Chairman Senator Rehman Malik in last meeting lamented on the poor food situation in Islamabad and showed strict directions to Mayor Islamabad Sheikh Ansr Aziz for ensuring the meat and milk standards in Islamabad.
When contacted Assistant Commissioner (AC) Waseem Khan about the issue, he replied that heavy fines have been imposed on most of these shops owners mentioned by food department. When asked, after paying fines they are free to pursue their toxic business, he denied but did not respond to why these people are still active in Islamabad.