The Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif has asked the Chairman of Capital Development Authority and Mayor of Islamabad, Ansar Sheikh to create Islamabad Food Authority.
The PM was talking at the launch ceremony for Pilot Street Food Safety Program (PSFSP) in Islamabad at the venue of Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO).
The Need to Establish Islamabad Food Authority
The Mayor of Islamabad, Ansar Sheikh, welcomed the collaboration between PSFSP and FAO. He said that around 300,000 children in Pakistan under the age of 5 died because of diseases like diarrhea. These diseases he said existed because of food contamination. He also stated that there was an urgent need to control the situation.
An inception workshop was organized for marking the event’s launch held at FAO Representation premises in Islamabad. The main aim of the workshop was to bring together all relevant stakeholders who would help identify ways to develop a food safety policy.
FAO Representative in Islamabad Patrick T. Evans emphasized on collaborating efforts to make street food safer for the consumers.
Here is how he described the objectives needing accomplishment.
“We have to work together to make needs assessment, raise awareness, build capacity and effectively monitor to improve livelihoods of those involved in the street food business.”
The Health and Education sector participants pointed towards the increasing trend of eating outside because of the growing economic prosperity. They also said that change in lifestyle choices also contributed to more people eating outside. The participants stated that vendors were oblivious to following the personal and hygiene standards as they were using cheap ingredients and also contaminating food items.
Chairman PARC Yousaf Zafar, Director General National Agriculture Research Center (NARC) Dr. Azeem Khan and Director General Health, Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad Dr. Hasan Orooj were also present at this occasion.
Core objectives of the Islamabad Food Authority include the following.
- To disseminate and replicate food safety policy and programs throughout the country including provinces and regions.
- To establish Islamabad as a role model regarding food safety programs for other parts of the country to imitate its model.
- To accurately develop a plan for the capital Islamabad.
- The capacity building of the street vendors and all other stakeholders involved in implementing the food safety program.
- The development of food safety training manual to distribute among the street food vendors.
- To conduct a field survey which assesses the food safety situation of street food vendors.
- To map out the food safety vendors in Islamabad.