LAHORE: The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) on Friday sealed 24 premises and imposed fine of Rs638,000 on 90 others.
The authority also issued warning notices to more than 600 food joints that had failed to meet its standards, sold gutka and maintained poor hygienic working environment. Teams of the authority launched a province-wide crackdown on gutka sellers.
PFA Director General (DG) Noorul Amin Mengal said a special drive was launched to ensure a “gutka-free Punjab” because it was causing health issues, including mouth cancer.
The teams sealed two gutka shops in Lahore and a joint for frying stale fish in rancid oil, not following food standards, and penalised 14 food businesses with heavy fines worth Rs1.7 million, he claimed.
Cracks down on gutka-sellers
He further said the PFA confiscated more than 6,500 packets of gutka from Lahore and Rawalpindi besides foiling an attempt to supply it from Sheikhupura to Multan. The authority will cancel licences of tobacco shops if they were found selling gutka or any banned product. He claimed that more than two million packets of gutka were recovered in various raids and later discarded.
The DG further claimed that 21 food businesses were shut down across Punjab, including six in Multan, one each in Rawalpindi and Faisalabad, five in Gujranwala, four in Bahawalpur and two each in Dera Ghazi Khan and Sargodha divisions.
Several hotels, restaurants, sweet shops and other premises were sealed for using expired ingredients, presence of animals in the production area and lack of cleanliness.
The PFA also imposed a fine of Rs30,500 on eight food joints in Multan, Rs5,000 on two eateries in Bahawalpur, Rs68,500 on 12 in Sahiwal, Rs50,000 on 16 in Sargodha, Rs246,000 on 26 in Gujranwala and Rs36,500 on 10 shops in Faisalabad.
During the operation, PFA teams imposed fine on and sealed shops for not following instructions issued previously, adulteration and poor hygiene. The purpose of the drive was to ensure availability of safe and hygienic food and meat in Punjab.
The PFA also confiscated 8,000 kilogrammes of pickle, 40kg gutka, 18kg salt, 1,100 snacks, 20kg rotten meat, over 500 litres of substandard carbonated drinks, 75kg flavour, dry fruits and 2,300 litres of adulterated and spoiled milk. It served warning notices to a dozen food joints over minor violations and directed them to improve quality.
The crackdown will continue till elimination of adulteration and availability of healthy food in Punjab.
Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2018