PFA drive not making headlines — why?Pakistan
LAHORE: Punjab Food Authority’s (PFA’s) drive against unhealthy food and unhygienic premises has not been making headlines for the last one month.
An insider claims that the drive has succumbed to pressure of the powerful owners of eateries.
PFA Director Ayesha Mumtaz rejects the claim, saying the authority is still vigilant to its task and as things are improving in eateries, so has the burden of raiding teams lessened.
She said raids were going on as per routine but the information could not be disseminated due to court orders under which the PFA was not allowed to post its performance on social media sites.
She said PFA’s objective was not to close or seal food businesses but to improve things and ensure the provision of hygienic food to the people at food outlets.
Earlier, the PFA was focusing on restaurants, eateries etc, she told Dawn, adding the PFA teams were focusing these days on major fish storage and outlets because the increasing demand for fish in the winter. The official, however, says the drive was a gallery show.
“It was a show that was staged well to create media hype only to divert public attention from other important issues,” says the official.
The official also rejected improvement claims, saying the pace of raids adopted in the initial months of the drive would never be resumed.
“Now, eateries’ owners have almost ignored implementation of the required SOPs related to hygiene standards after they observed PFA teams’ soft behavior during inspections,” says the official.
“Teams have limited their action to imposing a fine in a majority of routine inspections these days.” He said the PFA teams were not checking meat quality at restaurants.
“This drive is very important considering the issues of public health, so it should be continued to snub those playing with the health of people.”
Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2015