LAHORE After getting a go ahead signal from the provincial chief executive, the Punjab Food Department has step up efforts to give final shape to Punjab Food Safety and Standards Act 2010 that envisages establishment of Food Safety and Standards Authority to curb the menace of food adulteration, sources informed TheNation on Tuesday. The new law, that envisages increase in maximum fine for adulteration from paltry Rs 100,000 to Rs 2.5 million, will replace existing decades old Pure Food Ordinance 1960. Four members Committee headed by Secretary Punjab Food Department Irfan Elahi that also includes prominent lawyers Barrister Zafar Ullah and Muhammad Ahsan Rana and ex-District Officer Food Ch Munir Ahmad are giving final shape to the draft that will be forwarded to the Punjab Chief Secretary in next couple of days. After getting approval from the Punjab CS, the Committee will give presentation on the proposed law to Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif, who has already agreed in principle to establish Food Authority for curbing the menace of food adulteration. The new law is based on the study of existing Pure Food Ordinance 1960 and more than a dozen relevant laws prevalent in different countries including United Kingdom, United States of America, India, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. The proposed Food Safety and Standards Authority will lay down standards for food articles and regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import for ensuring availability of safe and hygienic food for human consumption. The proposed FSSA consists of ex-officio and private members and all the administration of the Act is its responsibility. Headed by a chairperson to be appointed by the government from amongst the persons of eminence in the field of food science and technology or administration, the other members of the committee will be Secretaries from Food, Health, Finance, Local Government and Community Development and Livestock and Dairy Development Departments, eminent food technologist or scientist and representative from food industry, retailers organisations, farmers organisations and consumers organisations. The chairperson and the members, other than ex-officio members, will hold office for three years and will be eligible for re-appointment for a further period after completing the term. A separate Chief Executive Officer in the name of Director General has been provided though he will function under the supervision of the food authority. Some general/blanket provisions as well as specified powers are attributed to the authority and it has powers to make its rules of business. The Authority can establish technical advisory committee and scientific panels in tune with modern jurisprudence of the consumers laws. For the safety of the food articles, details provisions regarding various aspects of the food industry have been provided. Almost all the facets of the food industry have been brought under the jurisdiction of the law. A tier of officials from the commissioner at the provincial level and associate commissioner for the food safety has been provided with food safety officers for the divisional, district and Tehsil levels. Powers and functions of the commissioner and food safety officers have been enumerated to save the public from misuse. In analysis of sampling, neutral referral laboratories have been established for dispute resolution. The enforcement officers will refer the matter relating to adulteration and other violations to the consumer courts under the provisions of consumer protection laws. Penalties have been enumerated with a care that they commensurate with offence. The common law sentencing model has been followed that combines imprisonment with the fine and in extreme cases a maximum penalty has also been mentioned. Compensation consequent to an injury by the unsafe food has been provided though it is tortuous compensation but some new laws in other jurisdictions have incorporated it in the criminal regime. Where the corporate bodies are involved in the violation, their directors/owners have been made responsible. The courts have been given special powers for transfer and impleading other accused persons in the light of the recent case law. The courts have been given powers to summarily try the cases. For the democratic control, the annual report of the authority is to be laid before the provincial assembly. Miscellaneous provisions provide for putting some safety mechanism in place for the employees. Authority will be in a position to change the regulations as and when needed without going to the government.