ISLAMABAD  -  Substandard packing is resulting in annual wastage of wheat flour worth Rs 35 billion while creating health issues, a business leader said on Sunday.

Three to five percent wheat flour is lost during loading unloading and transportation from flour mills to the ultimate user, said Iskander Khan, Chairman Pakistan Polypropylene Woven Sack Manufacturers Association. The consumers suffer from wastage while it has an impact on the food security situation, he added.

 Iskander Khan said that manufacturers are mixing plastic waste and high quantity of calcium carbonate in the bags used to pack grains, fruit and vegetables which can result in health issues.  He said that per capita consumption of flour in Pakistan stands at 11 kg and it is safe to assume that some part of it could be infected. Moreover, the manufacturers paint the sacks to hide impurities.   The business leader said that using environment friendly polypropylene sacks to pack flour, rice, fruits and vegetables’ etc. can help maintain quality, reduce losses and health hazards.

“It took five years to make use of quality bags mandatory for sugar mills while it took only one year to make flour mills compelled to use polypropylene bags by authorities but implementation is the challenge,” he said.  The role of Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority in hammering out the issue was highly cooperative, he said.