SC orders removal of word ‘milk’ from formula milk packing

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  • CJ’s son pays fine imposed by SC on Aitzaz Ahsan

LAHORE:  The Supreme Court (SC) on Saturday ordered the powdered and infant formula milk manufacturers to mention clearly on the packaging that it is a formula diet and not natural milk.

The court gave a time period of six months for imported products and four months to local products for implementation of the orders. The court also ordered analysis of NIDO milk powder ingredients.

The bench comprising Chief Justice (CJ) Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan passed the orders while disposing of applications against the sale of powdered milk as natural milk.

As the proceedings began, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, on behalf of the Powder Milk Manufacturers Association, submitted some drafts for replacing the existing packaging of formula milk products besides referring to international practices in this regard.

However, the chief justice observed that it is mandatory to mention on the packaging that it is not natural milk, adding, “We are of the candid view that present packaging is deceptive.”

The court also expressed satisfaction and held that no further action was required after it was apprised that the word ‘milk’ had been removed from a Nestle product.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar also told Aitzaz Ahsan that the Rs10,000 fine imposed on him for failing to appear in the formula milk case had been paid for by his [CJ’s] son.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had imposed a fine of Rs10,000 on the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader for not appearing in a case pertaining to infant formula milk.

According to reports, Aitzaz Ahsan had said that the court order damaged his reputation as he had never been fined even a single rupee during his entire career and urged the court to withdraw the fine.

Justice Nisar remarked that since Ahsan was reluctant to pay the Rs10,000 fine, the CJ’s son had donated it as ‘sadqah’. “We donated it for a noble cause,” he said.

“My son said I will pay Aitzaz uncle’s fine,” the Justice Nisar told Ahsan as he ordered court staff to hand over the fine receipt.

During Saturday’s hearing of the formula milk case, Aitzaz Ahsan’s client, Meiji Formula Milk Company presented a sample package of the milk before the two-member SC bench.

Ahsan said his client had complied with the top court’s orders and added a disclaimer that the formula milk was suitable for babies above the age of six months and that mother’s milk was better for the child.

The CJP showed concern on the use of the word ‘milk’ on the packaging. He said the company must clarify that the ‘formula’ was intended for six months and was not ‘milk’.

It should be written on the package that the formula is not natural milk, he said. “How can a mother’s milk be packaged?”

However, Ahsan maintained that the writing on the package did not claim it to be milk.

 

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