LAHORE: The crackdown on restaurants, hotels, eateries, food outlets by the Punjab Food Authority (PFA) seems to have been intensified in the city particularly since the beginning of Ramazan.

The areas where the authority’s teams are conducting raids at restaurants and food outlets included MM Alam Road, Husain Chowk, Liberty Market, Johar Town, Township, Valencia Town, Multan Road, Chauburji, The Mall, Lower Mall, Mughalpura, Harbanspura, Wahdat Road, Moon Market, Ravi Road and Jail Road.

Those annoyed at continuous raids raised concerns over the working style of the food authority, alleging that officials create panic on their premises over minor or ignorable violations.

“Recently, a PFA raiding party inspected our restaurant near Khokhar Chowk, Johar Town. They sealed our premises over allegations of keeping expired bread, which it was not,” Muhammad Asif, an employee at a food chain, told Dawn on Saturday.

An official of another food outlet also complained against PFA officials for imposing heavy fines on them leading to even closure of one of his company’s branches in Faisal Town over a minor issue that could have been settled through a warning.

Commenting on the situation, Farah Athar, Gulberg Town’s food safety officer, rejected the stance of restaurant officials.

“In the Faisal Town case, the situation was so bad; there was expired food inside a chiller that was being served there. Similarly, there was also drainage problem causing hygiene issues,” she claimed.

While mentioning a leading food chain in Gulberg, she said when she raided there recently she found a huge quantity of expired bread and drinks.

“We will never allow such restaurant owners to play with the health of people. And we will continue sealing such eateries in the future too,” she warned.

Meanwhile, PFA teams on Saturday sealed four hotels, two sweet shops, two nimko factories and a cooking oil company for flouting food safety regulations.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2015

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