Unchecked food adulteration

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THERE have been campaigns both by Federal and Punjab Governments to check adulteration of food items and ensure hygienic conditions at food outlets but the menace is still there and the issue was highlighted at the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology on Friday. The Committee expressed serious concern over reports that antibiotics are used for poultry to increase weight, tea whiteners were not fit even for animal consumption and majority of people across the country are forced to drink polluted water causing many diseases.
Persistence of the problem despite regular reports by media, social awareness and repeated claims of the authorities concerned to take action against adulterators, who are simply murderers and killers, is indicative of institutional failure. There are relevant departments, agencies, officials and magistrates but in most of the cases they are doing nothing but milking the criminals to fill their own pockets at the cost of health of the common man. There have been credible reports of selling of donkey meat especially in Lahore and police raided and recovered 4,736 donkey hides from a shop in Gulistan-e-Jauhar area of Karachi in April this year. The practice of injection of water in mutton and meat to increase their weight is widespread besides spraying of pesticides to keep flies away. Tea whiteners are playing havoc with the lives of the people who blindly use them taking them as dry milk and the Senate body was informed that these carried injurious-to-health ingredients. It is all the more unfortunate and regrettable that international brands are involved in the dirty business costing billions to the national exchequer besides causing harm to the health of the consumers. Adulteration of loose milk is so widespread that six types of milk with different rates are openly sold in almost every street. There are also complaints of questionable ingredients of poultry feed and their impact on human health. The Senate Standing Committee deserves credit for taking cognizance of the situation and we hope it would not leave the matter at that but ensure activation of the dormant system of monitoring, vigilance and implementation. There should be no compromise on this issue as it involves the question of life and death of the people.