Consumers exploited through sale of sub-standard products | Pakistan Today

Consumers exploited through sale of sub-standard products

Substandard and contaminated products are rampantly sold and consumed in the country as there is no national body or legislation on food safety.
Though many developing countries have successfully regulated food business and its trade in the world, Pakistan is still far from developing a legal framework for such businesses. From manufacturing, to food supply, no significant work has been done to regulate the sector causing serious threats to thousands of lives in the country. These views were expressed by speakers at “Consumers Food Safety and Quality Conference 2011” organised by Consumers Association of Pakistan (CAP) here at federation house on Wednesday. They said that oil consumed openly in various markets is found to be highly injurious to health as it is proven to be manufactured from carcasses of animals. Addressing the conference Professor, member United States/USDA Tri Lateral Commission for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gleyn E.Bledsoe, said that despite having huge potential in fisheries, investment for the development of this vital sector is falling. Modern techniques used for catching and packaging of fishes are not being employed in Pakistan causing a decrease in revenue generation from the sale of these products. Pakistan has huge potential in agricultural and horticultural sector which require immediate attention by authorities, he said. Bledsoe, who is currently appointed as the provost for the Lahore American University, said that a significant number of local students have so far been trained in the food sector and efforts are being made to train many others. Another member of USDA Trilateral Commission, Barbara Rasco, highlighted the importance of food safety and standards which is an imperative to gain a greater share in the highly sensitive international markets.
She said, almost 100 Pakistan Agriculture Faculty members would get Phd degrees in the US under a joint program with the university of Agriculture Faisalabad. Director Directorate of provincial consumer protection council Punjab, Saeed Akhtar Ansari, said that various factions of society were profiting from trading and exploitation of consumers through sub-standard and fake products. Such disruptive elements are a threat to the health and security of the community he explained. All regimes have a responsibility in protecting the public from such exploitation, Ansari added. According to him, government of Punjab has taken many initiatives for welfare of the general public, by providing them relief at their doorstep against substandard products and services. The provincial government he said has been at the forefront by enacting and implementing Punjab consumer protection act. A dynamic institutional system strengthened by district consumer protection councils and consumer courts provide prompt justice to the people by resolving their grievances against services and products he said, adding that there were no such institutional arrangements in any other province of the country.
On the other hand civil society has also played a pivotal role for welfare of consumers he said. He highly appreciated the long term efforts of the Consumers Association of Pakistan (CAP) to defend and promote the interests of Pakistani consumers playing its active role in the policy making process.
Vice Chancellor of University of Karachi professor Pirzada Qasim, said that food safety was an important subject for the fast growing food industry. The university, he said, which has a food and science department to train the youth, has organized many seminars and conferences to spread awareness about this sector. Chairman CAP Kokab Iqbal said that CAP was always striving to create awareness among consumers through arranging programs like “Consumers Food Safety & Quality Conference” which provides supervisory bodies and production stakeholders an opportunity to gather and address areas of common concern in such an unregulated market system.

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