Rawalpindi - The substandard food items are being prepared in illegal factories in the city but the Food authorities are taking no action against the owners of these factories.

Most of such factories are established in suburbs of the city with no signboard outside. These factories detected by The Nation during a survey yesterday are located at Dhamial, Hayyal, Ashraf Colony, Jorian, Chakri Road, Adan Housing Scheme near Kalyal, Shahpur, Adiala Road, Dhama Syedan, Dehghal, Gorakhpur and Adiala village.

These factories manufacture potato chips, nimko, sweets, tomato ketchup, samosas, vegetable rolls, meat kabab, burgers, bakery products and other edible items for children in unhygienic condition. Besides unhygienic conditions at these factories, the labels of products do not have any manufacturing batch number or registration number.

Vendors sell these substandard food items everywhere in the city including schools. The sales agents can be seen supplying these food items to the markets without any hindrance or check by the authorities concerned.

Despite this situation, the district health and food department and bigwigs of district government seem in deep slumber and are not launching campaign against these illegal food factories which are playing havoc with the lives of the people, especially children.

A group of doctors while talking to The Nation said that it is quite common to see vendors and shopkeepers selling unhygienic food items in towns, villages and outside educational institutions. They said that children need healthy food containing ingredients which are essential for their physical growth and protection against diseases. But here, they said, teenagers regularly consume unhealthy food causing health hazards. “Such food satisfies the children’s appetite but it is dangerous for their physical and mental growth,” they said.

Talking to this correspondent, a large number of female students of Government Girls High School/Community College Dhamial said that an unknown person has set up a food factory a few meters away from their school where unhygienic food is being prepared.

“The factory is not only preparing unhygienic food items but is also polluting the area. A faulty smell emitting from it has made it difficult for us to attend our classes peacefully,” said Irsa Nisar and Hira Javed, the two 8th class students. They demanded the government to shut down the factory. “My three school going children have fallen sick after eating the nimko which they had bought from a vendor in front of school.

I got examined them in a hospital where doctors diagnosed stomach infection,” said Shazia Aziz of Dhaman Syedan. Action should be taken against the manufacturers, distributors and sellers of such food items, she demanded.

Assistant Commissioner (AC) Tasneem Ali Khan, Executive District Officer (Health) Dr Arshad Sabir, TMO Potohar Town Sardar Tashfeen and food inspectors did not attend their cell phones when contacted by this correspondent to know their version over the situation.