In an attempt to ensure provision and sale of standard food items in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the KP Food Safety and Halal Food Authority (FS&HFA) under Authority Act 2017 has been established to ensure availability of safe and healthy food for human consumption.
The government has initiated all-out efforts for smooth functioning of KP Food Authority since last month. The basic purpose of the authority is to lay out standards for food articles and to monitor and regulate their manufacturing, storage, distribution, sale and import.
The KP FS&HFA has seven Divisional Headquarters along with its Directorate General office at Peshawar. The authority will formulate standards, procedures, processes, and guidelines in relation to any aspect of food including food business, food labeling, food additive, and specify appropriate enforcement systems.
According to the Director General for KP FS&HFA, RiazMehsud, the food has been divided in three categories namely Category-A, B, and C. Category-A included premises carrying out business of margarine, banaspati, fat spreads, animal fat (Halal), ghee, fish oil, edible oil, spices, cereal products, soft drinks, aerated water, fruits and vegetables, food additives & ingredients and cold storages etc. Category-B covers creameries, dairies, dairy farms, bakers, hotels, eating houses and other small scale food manufacturing concerns. While category-C contains food manufacturing units.
KP Food Authority has been mandated by law and will issue licenses to food operators under the three categories of food. Business operators will be able to submit request for license through smart phone and web application. Moreover, license can also be obtained by visiting FSA office and with the help of visiting field teams.
In order to ensure quality and prescribed standards of food items in the market, KP FS&HF has three types of laboratories i.e. scientific, appellate and medical laboratories. The field teams will conduct on the spot medical test for food handlers at production units, food outlets and kitchens.
KP Food Authority will also organize training programs in food safety and standards. The training schools will organize training for business operators and food handlers regarding food safety standards, SOPs for food production, health standards and certificates will be provided through training certificate programs.
The enforcement strategy will involve serving improvement notices to all business operators by KP Food Authority and time will be given for improvement of businesses, according to specified standards and registration/license of business. The authority will take stern legal action against the mal-practitioners through a variety of enforcement tools like imposition of fine, seizure of food items, sealing of premises and prosecution in the courts of law etc.
RiazMehsud added that with these steps, it is expected that food quality in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will improve thereby reducing the burden on hospitals and ensuring a healthy environment and provision of safe and wholesome food to the masses.