LAHORE: Punjab Food Authority is going to inspect the quality of ingredients in 27 ghee and cooking oil mills located in several districts of Punjab in next ten days.

Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers’ Association (PVMA) office bearers met with Punjab Food Authority Director General Noorul Amin Mengal and agreed upon the process to check the ghee mills ingredients quality.

According to PFA officials, in meeting both sides agree to devise a mechanism to check the quality of ingredients that are being used in manufacturing of ghee and cooking oils in mills.

For this mechanism zone wise teams will be made which will work under Punjab Food Authority Scientific Penal members including 21 Phd doctors who are working as faculty members in several universities and are expert in their respective field and work as ‘Independent  body’ to label any ghee or cooking oil fake or real in the light of present evidences.

It is pertinent to note here recently in Faisalabad Madni and Madinah Oil mills were confiscated by the PFA due to usage of substandard ingredients in manufacturing of ghee and cooking oil.  PFA then took up the matter and held a meeting with the concerned authorities to look into the matter as it concerned millions of people living in urban areas as well small towns in Punjab.

PFA DG said that to check the quality of ingredients being used in ghee mills PFA in consultation with PVMA devised a mechanism now and we will follow the plan to ensure quality ghee is being produce in the Punjab ghee mills. “It is most essential item and PFA will not compromise on the quality of the ghee and cooking oil,” he said.

Zone I include Lahore, Gujranwala, Zone II include Multan, DG Khan and Bahawalpur, Zone III Rawalpindi and Sargodha, Zone four include Faisalabad and Sahiwal. 

“In the next 10 days all the ghee mills will be checked and they will be given enough time for improvements in their factories. After the time completion PFA will check again the samples of ghee mills. The entire sample will be checked from the international standard laboratories including PCSIR and German based InterTech ISO 90001 certified laboratories,” Mengal told this paper.

Chairman PVMA Izaz Ilahi Malik along with other representative participated in the meeting.

PVMA came into being with only seven units as its members in 1961and now has 117 members engaged in the manufacture of Vegetable Ghee/ Cooking Oil.

Office bearer of PVMA stated that cooking oil sector contributed around Rs120 billion annually to the government exchequer in the form of custom duty, federal excise duty and income tax.

The cooking oil and ghee industry in the form of employment caters more than 100,000 persons. PVMA member units annual production capacity is around three million tons with the facility to produce both high quality Vanaspati Ghee and Cooking Oils.

The organisation has three zones in Pakistan including South Zone (comprising of units in Sindh and Balochistan Province), Central Zone (units in Province of Punjab) and North Zone (units in the Islamabad Capital Territory, NWFP & AJK).

Prior to the decision taken by PFA ghee sector was maintaining trans fats ratio up to 50% that was accordion to medical experts lethal for heart patients.

And according to international standard for trans fat in oil is only 5% but PFA accepts 10% to 15% and in the span of three years the oil industry bring it to five per cent.

Check List: PFA has given more than 30 points check list to the ghee and oil manufacturing unit of items, aspect and requirement necessarily for operational of any ghee mills in Punjab including details of supplier along with the type of ingredients they are supplying, Halal certificates from supplier, certificate of conformance, analysis of supplier and its certificate, raw material and its parameters of selection and rejection.

In testing of raw material PFA will ask detail of tests carried out on raw material in factory, test carried out on final product in factory, details of tests carried out during process including after de-gumming, bleaching is ensured of the processing is efficient, qualification and experience of personnel working in laboratory.

In testing parameter PFA will ask the plan and layout of factory, condition of territory and adjacent way of transport (vehicle conditions), plant conditions of processing facilities and auxiliary facilities, presence and efficiency of sewage system, pipes and control of their use.

PFA also to inquire medical screening along with total number of food handlers, toilets condition at work place, hand washing facilities, cloak rooms or lockers, protective clothing, workers working with cuts and grazes, notification of relevant infectious disease conditions, staff training and methodology, jewelry and nails, storage conditions of raw material and their intended shelf life.

In packaging material and labeling requirement, packaging material specifications covered in raw material specs, food grade certification of packaging material, labeling of raw material relating to Food safety and instruction for handling, preparation and usage, and labeling of product as per legislation.