The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has declared 61 ghee and oil brands injurious to health. The action of PFA shows one thing: the ghee and oil mills are playing with public health at large. While many may think of PFA as an organisation that is performing its functions diligently, however, a little dig in records show that a significant number of the ghee and oil brands that the PFA have labelled unfit were also certified harmful for health last year. The question that then arises is how come that these brands made it to the market? There are two possible explanations for the operations of these mills. Either they are collusion with some of the black sheep in the PFA, or the PFA lacks authority to seal these brands.

Now that these brands have failed in improving their standard, the PFA needs to take sternest actions against them. These brands should be stopped from reaching the market as they have consistently failed in meeting the standards. The present punitive measures are not sufficient to discourage the owners of these brands who by selling substandard oil and ghee are putting people’s lives in jeopardy. It is about time that the PFA go after the owners of these brands.

It is important to know that Pakistan is one of the few countries that have the highest consumption of edible oil and ghee – a practice that the World Health Organisation does not encourage at all. Above that, many of these oil and ghee brands are of the lowest quality. Because the mills act as a lobby, they can exert pressure on PFA to show them some relaxation; the provincial government needs to support PFA. Also, if the law is weak and does not give enough authority to the PFA, the provincial government needs to empower the provincial food authority, for a stronger PFA will prompt the all the manufacturers of the food industry to meet the standards.