LAHORE - The Supreme Court last week ordered Punjab Food Authority to take strict action against the companies producing poor and substandard packed as well as loose milk, and bottled water available in the markets.

The LHC, meanwhile, stayed the sale of dairy products by two companies, which were earlier sealed by the Punjab Food Authority. The sealed companies are Millac Pvt Ltd and Premier Dairies Private Ltd.

The SC passed the order on a petition moved by a local lawyer while the LHC stayed the sale of the companies’ products after they approached it to take action against PFA for sealing their premises and restraining them from further manufacturing of milk products and others.

Different departments submitted reports in the apex court regarding the packed as well as loose milk and bottled water available in the markets.

The Punjab livestock and dairy development secretary also submitted a report before the SC which questioned the efficacy of an analysis conducted in 2010 by a foreign laboratory of all brands of packed milk and tea whiteners’ samples.

Eleven milk samples of different brands were sent to Eurofins laboratory in Germany on the direction of then judge of the Lahore High Court, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, now senior puisne judge of the Supreme Court. The reports of the department concerned were submitted during the week before a two-judge bench of the apex court hearing an appeal of Watan Party’s Barrister Zafarullah Khan at the SC Lahore registry. The bench comprising Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik took up the mater.

The livestock department’s report unveiled that the 2010 analysis by the foreign lab confirmed the presence of ‘Formaldehydes’ (gas liquid) in all the samples. The reports further revealed that lab reports did not properly address the real question whether the products fall within the definition of ‘milk’ as described under the national and international standards as nutritional contents like milk fat, protein and lactose had not been determined to ensure whether these nutrients were within standard ranges.

The results of eleven samples showed that these were not of milk but have been made to look like the natural product with a high concentration of fat. During the hearing, the livestock department claimed that except Punjab, the hormone (rBST) is being used in other parts of the country when the court asked it about the use of steroid/hormone injections to boost milk production of cows or buffaloes.

The reports also said that extra hormonal (rBST) intake in human beings was resulting into extremely deadly carcinogenic effects caused due to insulin-like growth factor due to which the same could never get permission in the EU, Japan and Canada.

The reports further said that the Punjab government got it (rBST) de-registered following a highly-contested litigation before the high court and Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan (DRAP). The hormonal injection used for milk enhancement is very lethal as it ultimately kills the animal by causing cancer and metabolic disorders prematurely, they added.

During the hearing, the Punjab specialised healthcare and medical education department also submitted another report according to which Pakistan Council of Research in Water (PCRWR) is undertaking the task of monitoring bottled water both for chemical as well as bacteriological contamination. The council’s latest report finds that of total 111 brands samples collected for examination, 89 (80 percent) were overall safe, 22 (20pc) overall unsafe, 92 (83pc) chemically safe and 19 (17pc) were chemically unsafe, while two (3pc) were microbiologically unsafe brands.

The livestock department denied possibility of use of steroid/hormones in poultry feed, submitting that dynamics of poultry industry had entirely changed.

During the hearing, PFA Director Ayesha Mumtaz told the bench that the authority recently sealed two “powder milk” companies. The SC appreciated the role of the authority and urged it to take strict action against those who were producing substandard milk products.

Last week, the LHC also issued notices to federal and provincial governments in a petition challenging controversial Cybercrime Act 2016.

In another case, the LHC dismissed an application for temporary permission to exhibit film “Maalik” till announcement of its decision reserved on petitions against government for banning the movie.

The court also sought replies from the federal government and film censor board as to why the ban was not being imposed on exhibition of Indian movies in Pakistan. The court would resume hearing until Sept 27.

In another case, the Lahore High Court sought appearance of Opposition leader in National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah for his view on a petition for constitution of shadow cabinet.

Also, during last week, LHC Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah lamented that the public sector universities accredited even one-room law colleges. The CJ was heading a full bench hearing petitions challenging five-year LLB programme and age-limit of 24-year fixed by Punjab University and others in light of Pakistan Bar Council’s suggestions.

The bench directed the Punjab government to submit complete statistics of the law colleges given affiliation in violation of rules. Further hearing was adjourned for Sept 19.

On a petition questioning failure of the government to control Congo virus, the LHC sought replies from Punjab secretary health, DRAP and others.

Registration of MQM was also taken up by the LHC which issued notice to federal government to submit reply. The court would resume hearing by September 20.