Milk freezing: Punjab bans practice in ‘regular factories’ to curb adulteration
Food companies, especially those with ice factories, must now obtain separate licenses to run milk chiller units if they wish to freeze milk in their factories.
In a statement on the PFA website, PFA Director General Captain (R) Muhammad Usman said: “[Ice] factories [are not allowed to] store milk in ice blocks in the name of ice factory business [without a license].
“[It is also] compulsory to install chillers for storing milk. PFA [will serve an] emergency prohibition order in [violation cases], and if the milk is found to be adulterated, [the] premises will be sealed.
This move comes on the heels of PFA’s discovery and disposal of some 4,915 litres of contaminated milk across the nation earlier in the month.
Usman said that PFA had checked some 188,961 litres milk found in 1,544 milk vehicles during the ‘crackdown’ conducted at the entry and exit points of each district.
“PFA disposed of milk found [to be contaminated with] harmful chemicals, powder, urea and polluted water in it,” he added.
“Thousands of litres [of] adulterated milk [were] being carried on dozens of vehicles in cities, from different dairy farmhouses and factories located at far-flung areas.”
Usman sees pasteurisation as the ‘only solution’ to deal with milk adulteration and loose milk sales, hence is placing a good deal of focus on bringing a Pasteurisation Law into force.
Food safety law violations a rising concern in Punjab
In January 2019 alone, PFA operations have unearthed and shut down multiple types of food businesses for the violation of food safety laws, ranging from spices to sweets.
On January 8, 600,000 bottles of caffeinated drinks were disposed of by the PFA for using the term ‘energy drink’ instead of ‘highly caffeinated drink’ as required by PFA labelling law.
Over 185,000 kilogrammes of loose, unpacked spices also met with the same fate.
“[It is] compulsory for spice manufactures to mention the details of ingredients, weight, expiry and manufacturing dates, company name, supplier name and address on packing,” said Usman, adding that PFA ‘will not accept the apology of the violators’ because they had been informed about the law ‘several times’.
Later in the month on January 19, a 10-hour long PFA operation ended in the closure of three snack factories, one fake cheese unit and a sweets production unit. Over 2,000 kilogrammes of food products were discarded on the basis of adulteration and sub-standard operations.
Most recently on January 22, the agency said that it shut down seven food service outlets and imposed penalties on 64 other food businesses for a variety of different food safety violations.
These included the failure to use food safety kits, workers’ poor physical hygiene, using blue drums to store drinking water, serving food in rusty containers, using newspapers and waste material to cover/enclose open foods, using poor quality ghee, using adulterated spices and more.