LAHORE - The Punjab government has decided in principle to set up a Provincial Food Quality Control Board, which will work through five Divisional Food Quality Control Boards based in Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur and Rawalpindi. The PC-I of the project has been approved and the Chief Minister Punjab has directed the authorities concerned to expedite the work for establishing food laboratories at divisional level so that the sale of sub-standard edibles and food items including milk and cold drinks may be stopped in the province. Sources in the Punjab Public Analyst Food Laboratories told The Nation that about 2 per cent samples of adulterated food and edibles were being collected and sent to the food laboratories based at two cities of the province. These samples are collected by sanitary workers in 34 districts and have been sent to the Public Analyst Punjab in Lahore and Multan. The samples collected from Rawalpindi city and its suburbs are also brought to Lahore for analysis and laboratory reports for initiating legal proceedings against the mafia involved in sale of sub-standard food items. At the moment, the Punjab has no laboratory infrastructure for analysis of adulterated food samples in any city except Lahore and Multan. Even post of food inspector does not exist in 34 districts of the province including Rawalpindi, said Dr Ilyas Ahmed Afridi, Public Analyst Punjab who is head of food laboratories. He said that one food laboratory was working in Lahore and the other in Multan, while the laboratory of Faisalabad had been closed due to lack of equipment and staff shortage. He said the CM had taken notice of the mafia involved in sale and manufacturing of sub-standard food items and the decision of setting up a Provincial Food Quality Control Board and five Divisional Food Quality Control Boards was part of the plan to strengthen grip on the mafia. He said that the ratio of adulteration in food items was quite high due to lack of infrastructure for sample taking and analysis of food samples in most of the cities of the province. Sources said that there was a shortage of food inspectors in Lahore due to which they had failed to check sale of sub-standard food items. Food inspectors of CDG Lahore told The Nation, There are a total of 11 inspectors who cover the entire City where 10 million people buy manufactured edibles or packed food items ranging from cooking oil to salt, and milk to cold drinks, and out of it 40 per cent of the edibles are adulterated as per the reports of the Public Analyst. District Food Officer Dr Masood Ashraf said there was shortage of inspectors who were responsible for taking samples of food items and adulterated edibles from all over the City. The restaurants, shops and manufacturers have a big network and it is hard to take samples from places but still food department is doing its best in controlling the sale of adulterated food in the City, he added. About sale of unhygienic food at stalls and restaurants, he said we had taken samples and sent for reports of Public Analyst adding that after the reports if food items would be adulterated cases be sent to court of magistrate.