LAHORE - The Punjab Food Authority, after the establishment of its vigilance cell, has exposed some of the biggest mafias controlling the city’s food manufacturers units.

The members of vigilance cell headed by a retired army officer work mostly ‘undercover’. They gather information on the pattern of security agencies. “Ex-army men and personnel from different walks of life are working for the vigilance cell which has busted some of the biggest scandals in food manufacturing sector,” DG PFA Noorul Amin Mengal told The Nation. PFA vigilance Cell is a brain child project of Mengal.

“A system is being introduced to keep check on the manufacturing of gutka, adulterated milk, ketchups, ghee, oil and substandard spices. The members of the vigilance cell are working undercover and they have been given proper training in Lahore and other districts of the Punjab,” the DG added.

The food watchdog is also keeping an eye on the corruption of the field officers in PFA. “We have made a system in PFA in which no one can easily engage in corruption,” Mengal further said. According to the procedure, initially PFA seals the property for 48 hours and then for seven days. After that the authority seals the property for 14 days. If the production unit continues with the violations then the production units will be sealed for 21 days and after that for 120 days. If production unit of any food manufacturing continues with violations then their license would be cancelled. “Three to four companies’ licenses have been cancelled despite repeated attempts and warnings from PFA to improve the working conditions,” Mengal said. “This is the last option and such companies with malafide intentions would be stopped with an iron hand,” he added. Last month, PFA teams raided and busted 1.1 million rotten eggs worth Rs15 million from Punjab’s only privately owned egg processing unit, Al-Waha, located in Manga Mandi. Mengal said that “we have given the eggs proceeding unit a probationary period to improve the operational conditions of the factory. Our vigilance cell is keep checking the factory after two weeks. It is a matter of our children as these eggs are being used in manufacturing of our biscuits of different factories.”

The factory sources told The Nation that they have spent Rs8 million to import new machinery to avoid the violation again. It is the only eggs processing unit in the Punjab which supplies eggs powder to biscuit manufacturing companies in Punjab.

To a question, the DG said that upon finding such horrific condition of eggs being used in processing biscuits PFA immediately disposed off rotten eggs material that was ready to be used in the powder making.

Mengal vowed although the mafia has become so powerful, the food authority will continue their raids against the criminals involved in ill practices.

The soft drinks mafia who have been busted during past few weeks are also on the run as PFA has sealed number of production units and issued warnings to these production units. “The sealing of units was also possible due to tip of vigilance cell. We are after the mafia until they will stop the heinous crimes of manufacturing fake soft drinks in the name of white colour crime,” Mengal maintained.

“PFA will not let mafia operate in Punjab and play with the lives of people.”