Islamabad - Federal Minister for Science and Technology Rana Tanveer Hussain has directed the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority to strictly control sale of low quality or unhealthy food items in guise of the brands in common use.

The minister took serious notice of complaints in low standard water bottles being sold in the market and the low quality oil and ghee among other edible routine items being available in markets. The issue was discussed in the 10th meeting of the Board of Governors of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) held in the Ministry of Science & Technology under the chairmanship of Tanveer Hussain.

Last week a monitoring survey of the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) had revealed that about 22 brands of bottled water being sold in different cities were unsafe for human consumption and can cause various diseases. The complaints about other substandard items are also being received by the ministry officials, it was dicussed.

Yesterday discussing the overall performance of PSQCA in past three months during the board meeting, the minister directed the PSQCA to control this situation on urgent basis and also directed for the next BOD meeting to be held in May. As a part of the agenda item for next meeting, the PSQCA was also directed to submit a full action plan for not only against the possible culprits but also against those who were already identified and caught for selling low quality food and drinking water items.

The minister desired to improve the pace of progress of PSQCA especially in terms of revenue generation through marking fee collection. He also encouraged them to bring better results in performance and updating their equipment and authority for far reaching impact.

He also said the PSQCA must increase their field staff and increase frequency of their surveillance activities on war footings. “This is essential to facilitate the public and ensure their approach to good quality food items especially cooking oil, banaspati (ghee) and drinking water.”

He advised the PSQCA to prepare comprehensive plan for introducing the concept of three directorates (North, South and Central regions) to look after the quality and standards throughout the country.

At the end of meeting, Rana Tanveer Hussain also stressed on capacity building of the scientists and laboratory researchers of PSQCA so that they are able to operate in accordance with International best practices and PSQCA should ensure regular and continuous trainings for their staff.

The meeting was attended by Fazal Abbas Maken, Federal Secretary for Science & Technology, Muhammad Khalid Siddiq, Joint Technological Advisor, M/o S & T, Barkat Saeed Memon , DG PSQCA, and Umer Kazi, Secreatry, PSQCA, M.A Jabbar, Member FPCCI and Attique ur Rehman, DG, Commerce.