ISLAMABAD, Feb 7: The government informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that people who had imported poultry feed containing pork two years ago were penalised and since then only the feed certified to be pork-free was allowed to be imported.
In a four-page report of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) submitted before the Supreme Court, Attorney General Malik Muhammad Qayyum said that no import of contaminated material had been made after June 2006 and that imports of bone and meat meal would only be allowed in future on certification by exporters for having separate bovine, bone and meat meal facilities.
A three-member bench comprising Justice Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi, Justice Muhammad Qaim Jan Khan and Justice Mian Hamid Farooq disposed of the matter on the assurance given by the FBR, initiated on reports of contamination of poultry feed with pig meat imported during 2005-06.
On September 5, 2007, a pre-PCO apex court headed by deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had ordered the FBR to collect samples locally as well as from countries that export bone and meat meal and get them tested to find traces of pig meat in the poultry feed.
The news item regarding pig meat had created quite a furore in the country necessitating raids on 14 firms that import poultry feeds namely, Shabbir Edible Oil and Feed, Shamim Feed Industries, Bahawalpur; Sadiq Brothers, Rawalpindi; Ghazi Brothers, Karachi; Chakwal Feeds (Pvt) Ltd, Rawalpindi; A-One Feeds, Hyderabad; A.R. Autos, Karachi; National Feeds Ltd, Lahore; Syed Fish, Karachi; Shahzoor Feed (Pvt) Ltd, Lahore; and Olympia Feeds, National Feeds and Punjnad Feeds. There are 120 feed mills across the country while the local feed production is five million tonnes.
The report said that the question of using contaminated material did not arise as the organic fertiliser or bone and meat meal as poultry feed imported during 2005-06 and found contaminated after tests were not released.
The material was divided into three categories, one where imports were tested for the contamination of pork or lard (pig fat) but were found free of these and, therefore, released on the basis of PCSIR (Paksitan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) reports.
The second category comprises goods which were re-exported on suspicion for having contamination either under the tribunal, high court orders or permission from the commerce ministry.
Lastly, the goods that were found to be contaminated with pork material were confiscated. Besides, penalties were levied in addition to financial loss incurred by importers due to confiscation, the report said.
It appeared, the report said, the importers had not imported contaminated poultry feed intentionally or knowingly. The pre-shipment certificate provided to them by exporters lent credence to the fact that importers had taken reasonable steps and care to ensure that no offensive or prohibited goods were imported and that the bone meat was free from pig meat.
The reasons for traces of offensive matter could be that the same plant and machinery used by exporting companies might have processed the prohibited meal at some earlier stage.