LAHORE: The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) on Friday sealed 24 premises and imposed fines totalling Rs 638,000 on 90 others, according to latest reports.
Warning notices were also issued to more than 600 food joints that had failed to meet the PFA’s standards, sold gutka and maintained unhygienic working conditions. 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 Rs 1.7 million, he claimed.
He further added more than 6,500 packets of gutka were confiscated by the authority from Lahore and Rawalpindi besides foiling an attempt to supply it from Sheikhupura to Multan. Moreso, tobacco shops stand to lose their licenses if they are found selling gutka or any banned product. He claimed that more than two million packets of gutka were recovered in various raids.
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 Rs 30,500 on eight food joints in Multan, Rs 5,000 on two eateries in Bahawalpur, Rs 68,500 on 12 in Sahiwal, Rs 50,000 on 16 in Sargodha, Rs 246,000 on 26 in Gujranwala and Rs 36,500 on 10 shops in Faisalabad.
PFA teams also imposed fine on and sealed shops, during the operation, for not following previously issued instructions, adulteration and poor hygiene. The purpose of the drive was to ensure the 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 Punjab has a steady and healthy supply of food.