ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was informed on Tuesday that out of a total 71 brands of Banaspati ghee and cooking oil available at Utility Stores Corporation (USC) outlets, nine were found non-conforming and 14 products were being evaluated for quality standards.

In a report submitted before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority explained that non-conforming ghee and edible oil did not mean that the products might be hazardous, adulterated or spurious, but might be low in Vitamin A value.

The court had taken up a case on suo motu notice on receiving complaints regarding substandard cooking oil and ghee in the utility stores.

The report presented by Deputy Attorney General Sohail Mehmood explained that of the 71 samples, 51 were of ghee and 20 of cooking oil. Of these, 45 ghee samples were found conforming, six non-conforming and eight were under process. Among the cooking oil samples, 17 were conforming, three non-conforming and six under process.

Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority submits report to SC

Advocate Mustafa Ramday told the court that the USC had decided to withdraw from its outlets all oil and ghee products which were declared substandard and in future only branded products would be on display.

Attention of the court was drawn towards open sale of used ghee and cooking oil in the market which was used by vendors in various cities selling snacks like samosas and pakoras and thus posed a health hazard.

The chief justice said it was the job of the government to check the illegal sale of used ghee or cooking oil but hinted that the court might seek comprehensive reports from the food authorities to explain what measures they had taken to check the practice.

The court explained at the same time that it did not want to create panic in the society.

It said it might also consider calling a report about the health hazards that easy availability of Chinese salt ‘Aginomoto’, ‘tetra pack’ milk and bottled water posed.

The court also appointed Advocate Salman Akram Raja to assist it as amicus curiae in this regard.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2017