Food felony and ethics

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Samina Riaz

In Pakistan, gastronomic luxury comes with a hidden cost. 70% of the food available in the market is contaminated and 52% of mineral water available is unsafe for drinking and most food makers continue to use substandard ingredients such as unhygienic water and inferior food colours, flavours, fats and oils because there is weak implementation of laws and a virtually non-existent legal structure for food safety. The contamination, however, is not just limited to the ingredients. In most cases, experts preparing the food are not wearing gloves and hairnets, and the food is prepared in dirty kitchens infested with pests. Often the food is spoiled not because of substandard ingredients, but by an unhygienic handler who is sweating abundantly in a poorly ventilated kitchen while cooking.
Victims of food poisoning show symptoms after hours, sometimes days. In extreme instances, stomach aches and cramp leads to bloody Diarrhea, kidneys shutting down and seizures and the worst case scenario is ‘death by food’. With increased globalization of the food chains and no integrated safety system in place in the country, the major burden of preventing food poisoning falls on the consumer. Along with health hazards, selling poor quality food at high prices is a crime on one hand and on the other it shows how weak our ethical values are. Is there anybody to think!
—Karachi