Food Quality Control in Balochistan

In a society where laws and their implementation are often not as effective as they should be to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens, it becomes mandatory upon the every individual of the society to remain extra-vigilant. The other day a grand seminar was held in the provincial capital of Balochistan in collaboration with the World Trade Centre, the European Union and Balochistan Food Authority (BFA) which deliberated upon the need of safe and healthy food for the people of Balochistan. It was informed that the food industry within the province is pressed hard to comply with the Standard Operating Modules (SOPs) for providing hygienic food to the masses. It is undoubtedly a great worry when it comes to the food services anywhere in Pakistan that the basic hygienic conditions are hardly maintained. The kitchens are often stinky, unhygienic and the people, who involved in the preparation of food, are themselves least aware of even personal hygiene. Sweating, sniffing, bare hand and uncovered hair in the kitchens is a common place observation wherever one goes but perhaps this has become a normal routine for the food industry and the consumers. Moreover, the open kitchens of the eateries in the provincial capital specifically are another big threat to the health of the masses as hundreds of eateries have their open kitchens by the roadside which makes the food polluted owing to being prepared in open loaded with dust particles, contaminated droplets, and fossil fuel waste. Even there are many places where vendors are seen preparing food on the footpaths which is even further riskier. Why people don’t take a cognizance of such unhygienic food and why do they consume it is a question whose answer lies within our overall socialization, approaches towards hygiene and healthy life. Balochistan Food Authority (BFA) which is perhaps in its formative phase should consider workshops for the owners of these eateries, restaurants and their staff so that they get sensitized about how to prepare hygienic food. Simply fining them with a meager amount from time to time will not suffice. A multi-pronged strategy is required to involve both the producers as well as consumers so that efforts are put-in from both the corners to improve the situation and maintain hygiene. The BFA should also maintain a strict check on the vendors serving various kinds of food to the children outside schools as children often get their health deteriorated owing to junk food. Apart from hygiene, the use of sub-standard stuff, such as oil, ghee, and masala is another concern and the people of Quetta were shocked when Assistant Commissioner Sariab Yasir Dashti along with BFA staff raided a compound where ghee was produced out of waste of the animals in utterly unhygienic conditions. Perhaps, the profiteering has blinded the mafias and trading death for profit has become a norm. The government as well as the civil society should play their role so that food industry should comply with the SOPs as well as the producers are kept a strict check on.    

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