LAHORE: The Punjab Food Authority’s Director (Operations) Ayesha Mumtaz says the authority’s ongoing drive is not aimed at sealing eateries and food outlets but to ensure provision of pure and hygienic food to the public.
She says about 3,100 notices were issued to the eateries owners after around 6,000 inspections within the last two months.
“We issued notices to the eateries/restaurants to improve cleanliness and maintain hygiene standards. Besides issuing notices, we sealed about 275 eateries/food outlets and in the remaining inspections, fine was imposed on the outlets,” she said while talking to Dawn on Saturday.
Says authority not sealing eateries but ensuring hygienic food
When asked about the issues the PFA teams might ignore during inspection for being minor ones, she said they varied according to the situation, adding: “If the kitchen staff (cook and chef) forgets wearing headgears and gloves despite their availability, the teams could tell or warn the hotel administration to avoid doing that in future.
“But if the kitchen staff don’t wear caps, gloves, aprons and gloves, etc. and there are other issues—such as cleanliness in kitchen, freezers, use of expired food/product, unhygienic meat and presence of cockroaches, insects, rats in kitchen—the officials are liable to seal the premises or impose a heavy fine as per gravity of offence and violations,” Ms Mumtaz added.
She said the work on categorisation of eateries and restaurants in grade A, B, C and D would complete soon and it would be easier for the PFA field teams to take action according to grading under the law.
Ayesha Mumtaz said the action against those playing with the public health through of unhygienic food would continue without discrimination. She advised the people involved in food businesses to focus on improving the hygiene conditions as per the food safety standards rather than criticising, ignoring or flouting the laws related to with the public health and food.
“We want to ensure provision of hygienic food to the people under the law and nothing more. If any restaurant/hotel, no matter small or big, fails to follow the laws, it will be taken to task,” she warned.
Meanwhile, the PFA continued sealing eateries, imposing fine on the owners and disposing of unhygienic milk on Saturday.
According to a PFA spokesperson, a team, headed by Ayesha Mumtaz, sealed Mumtaz Bao Ameen Food production unit in Akbari Mandi, Altaf Soda Water Factory and Saeen Shami Kebab due to presence of rats, cockroaches, dirty floors, unavailability of staffers’ medical fitness certificates, use of unrecognised food colours, use of non-branded drinks in branded bottles, dirty freezers and various other hygiene issues. The team also seized a huge quantity of substandard food items.
Earlier, the same team disposed of around 230 litres of unhygienic milk after it checked quality by stopping vehicles carrying milk at various entry/exit points (Saggian, Thokar etc) of the city.
Data Ganj Bakhsh team sealed Lingfing Chinese Restaurant on the Kashmir Road and imposed heavy fine on the owner of New Kashmir Hotel on the Edgerton Road over hygiene issues.
Iqbal Town team sealed Tandoor Nights’ Restaurant near Shadewal Chowk in Johar Town whereas Nishter Town team imposed a heavy fine on Ghausia Restaurant and Ajwa Food at Gajjumata and Kahna-Katcha Road.
Gulberg and Shalimar towns’ teams also imposed heavy fine on Children Hospital’s cafeteria, Ghausia Samosa Corner in Model Town and Al-Noor Milk Shop in Begumpura and Javed Bakery on GT Road.
Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2015