In response to a petition against the sale of substandard milk and water in Pakistan, the Punjab Food Authority has sent samples from 30 dairy companies and 313 bottled water companies to a laboratory for analysis, the Supreme Court was told yesterday.
Director PFA, Director General Noorul Amin Mengal, told the court that strict actions will be undertaken if any of the samples are found not up to par with the required standards.
The court consisting of a two-judge bench, was listening to a petition against the sale of substandard milk and drinking water. The petition was moved by Barrister Zafarullah Khan of the Watan Party.
Milk is a huge business in Pakistan. With a 40 billion liters per year production capacity, Pakistan is the third largest milk producer in the world. Overall, the industry contributes to 11% of the country’s GDP.
Only 6% of the milk sold in the country is packaged.
Substandard Milk is Being Sold in Pakistan
PFA released the names of the companies that were penalized and fined.
Dalda Dairies was sealed due to it selling second grade liquid whiteners (called Cup Shup). Al Fajar Dairy and Foods Ltd. was also sealed while Acha Dairies received a fine due to not meeting the criteria required by Punjab Pure Food Rules 2011.
Al Fazal Foods’ license was also revoked because of repeated violations of the standards and rules set by the PFA for running a food business. Doce Foods’ milk production was halted as well and the company was given a notice to resolve their issues. Doce Foods also received a fine of Rs. 500,000.
Gourmet Foods had successfully removed their shortcomings according to the PFA report. They had issues in the microbiological content of the milk they sold. The two-judge bench wasn’t happy with the report so they ordered the PFA DG to again submit a comprehensive report on them.
UHT Milk and Pasteurized Milk Companies
Earlier a report filed by Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) mentioned that Haleeb Milk was the only milk brand unfit for use. The report analyzed samples of Ultra High Temperature (UHT) treated packaged milk from different companies.
This means that Olpers, MilkPak and other UHT treated milk brands are safe for consumption while Haleeb, a renowned brand is unsafe.
In pasteurized milk brands, only Prema Milk was found fit for drinking.
Barrister Zafarullah said that contaminated and substandard milk had been the cause of several fatal diseases like Hepatitis-C and cancer. He called on the court to ban the sale of low-quality and contaminated milk.