SC orders four milk producing factories to be sealed

KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) ordered on Saturday four private skimmed and pasteurised milk producing factories to be sealed and also banned the sale of their ‘unfit for human consumption’ products.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, also ordered them to immediately recall the entire stock of their products from the markets of Karachi and Lahore.

The apex court’s bench, which also comprised justices Gulzar Ahmed and Faisal Arab, issued these directives on a report submitted by the court-appointed judicial commission based on chemical analysis of samples of packaged milk being sold in the market.

Advocate Mohamed Vawda, who was appointed as commissioner on January 14 to collect samples of all brands of packaged milk and get them tested, filed a report of the Pakistan Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

A total 53 samples were collected from different areas of the city and sent for chemical analysis. The laboratory analysis revealed that four samples of pasteurised and skimmed milk were not suitable for human consumption.

Apex court orders lab tests of packed milk in Sindh

It explained that the samples of Day Fresh Whole Milk (pasteurised) was unsafe for human consumption due to the presence of coliforms and faecal coliforms. It also found samples of Day Fresh ultra-high temperature (UHT) unsafe for human consumption.

According to the chemical analysis report, samples of Skimilac Skimmed Milk Powder were also unsafe for human consumption. Similar was the case with Nurpur Full Cream Milk.

Interestingly, the report stated that the samples of three foreign-made products – Dairy Morning Milk Powder, Lacnor Full Cream Milk and Almarai Milk (UHT) – were found suitable for human consumption but failed to meet local standards.

The report revealed that the samples of 46 other products of packaged milk, including tea whitener, full cream milk, flavored milk and low-fat milk, were found suitable for human consumption but also did not comply with local standards.

However, the commission stated in its report that it did not include baby/infant milk or nutritional/supplement milks.

After going through the report, the CJP ordered sealing these four milk manufacturing companies immediately and banning sale of their products that were found unfit for human consumption. The companies were told to recall their products from the markets of Karachi and Lahore.

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The bench also imposed a fine of Rs50,000 on a lawyer for his attitude in court, as he kept insisting on not sealing a private milk manufacturing firm and ordering a fresh test of their product.

Food authority establishment

The same bench directed the provincial chief secretary, Muhammad Rizwan Memon, to submit a report regarding the status of the establishment of the Sindh Food Authority at the earliest.

During the hearing of a petition regarding delays in the establishment of the proposed authority, Advocate-General Barrister Zamir Ghumro informed the court that the food authority had been set up and staff was being appointed.

The petitioner, Imran Shahzad, said the public was suffering due to non-establishment of the proposed authority despite the fact that the Sindh Assembly passed the Sindh Food Authority Bill, 2016. He alleged that there were only 16 food inspectors employed at the food department, adding that substandard food items were being sold in the market due to non-establishment of the authority.

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