ISLAMABAD - The ICT Food Safety Act-2018, drafted by Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration is under consideration stage of concerned Parliament Committee for endorsement. The basic objective of the Bill is to keep effective check on provision of food items in envelops made of newspapers.  It is a fact that shopkeepers in Islamabad provide samosas, pakoras and jalebis in envelopes made of newspaper due to non-availability of any punishment in existing law i.e. Pure Food Ordinance, 1960.

 However, ICT’s Health Department conducts regular visits of food outlets, bakeries, hotels, restaurants and samosas, pakoras shops etc to check the standard and quality of food in Islamabad. When contacted, official sources on Sunday said no research study is available regarding the cause of cancer by ink of newspapers, however, this practice may cause diseases including loose motions/diarrhoea, vomiting, acute respiratory infection and hepatitis A & E type (jaundice).

The sources said prices of essential food items like roti, milk, yogurt, vegetable, fruits, meat, etc listed in schedule of Prices Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act 1977 are fixed by Islamabad Administration within its jurisdiction. With regards to other eatable items (Non-essential ones) provided by restaurants, the sources said the law does not authorize Islamabad Administration to fix prices of edible items, served at the restaurants.

The sources said quality control is being strictly enforced through vigorous campaigns, on the spot physical checking and inspections of restaurants by authorized officers of concerned ICT Department, along with food Inspectors accompanying the magistrates and Assistant Commissioners. Samples of food and edibles are collected for laboratory tests to determine their suitability for human consumption while general hygienic and cleanliness of restaurants is also checked and in case of deficiencies, such restaurants are fined by the Magistrate.

Moreover, the sources said ICT Health and Livestock Departments also carry out inspection in their respective areas of jurisdictions/responsibility.

The above mentioned administrative action is taken by ICT Administration under Pure Food Ordinance 1960 and Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act, 1977.

Answering a question about steps being taken by government to fix rates and ensure quality of those items in said restaurants, the sources said as explained above, fixing of prices of edibles sold in restaurants is beyond legal mandate of Islamabad Administration. As for as quality of edible items is concerned, an adequate mechanism is already in place and is fully operational under the given legal framework.  The sources said all possible efforts are being made to ensure that the quality of edible items and food products is maintained by restaurants strictly in accordance with prescribed standard. This is being ensured through regular and strict inspection and legal action against the violators.