Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) is the sole National Standards Body (NSB) of Pakistan. It is mandated under the PSQCA Act VI of 1996 to check the quality of products declared mandatory and bring them under compulsory certification through SROs. Presently 108 products stand declared as ‘mandatory’, including Edible Cooking Oil and Ghee.
PSQCA regularly monitors the quality of these 108 items as per PSQCA Act VI of 1996 and Pakistan Conformity Assessment Rule 2011. A complete mechanism has been put in place for monitoring the quality of these products through quarterly inspections of manufacturing units and market surveillance. Samples of products are also taken from the open market and sent for testing to labs for analysis in accordance to the Pakistan Standards Specifications.
Recently, Punjab Food Authority (PFA) declared various cooking oil and ghee brands as unfit for human consumption, after examining the samples which were collected during market survey, and have indicated the absence of Vitamin A and rancidity, artificial flavour addition and other acid values in these samples, in a public notice issued by the Authority, in different newspapers on November 27.
Following this, Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority, in the light of its statutory mandate initiated a fresh drive for verification by re-inspection (in accordance with ISO/IEC 17065) and retesting of samples cooking oil and Banaspati Ghee produced by the said manufacturing units, from 3rd party accredited labs (ISO/IEC 17025) which were declared unfit by the Punjab Food Authority.
All the brands/articles of edible oil and ghee (i.e., Shan, Momin, Kashmir, Ghani, Sufi, Olio Premium, Season, Sundrop, Smart, Shah Taj, Soya Supreme, Koko, Miyar, Salva Spanish, Tallu, Maan, Naaz, Kissan and Malta) were rechecked and re-tested for Quality as per Pakistan Standards for critical test parameters (i.e., Free Fatty Acids, oil’s peroxide value, Iodine Value and Vitamin A). The samples were tested by Quality Control Center-PSQCA Laboratories and then got re-tested from PCSIR Laboratories which were previously declared unfit for human consumption by Punjab Food Authority on the same test parameters. All the analysis have been done as per the prescribed standards methods (i.e., Pakistan Standards traceable to ISO and Codex Alimentarius Guidelines of WHO) and complete details of analysis in the form of test reports are available from PSQCA (Testing were conducted from 1-15 December, 2016). All the samples have been found to be in conformity with the Pakistan Standards, except for slight deviation of the percentage of Vitamin-A in some cases.
PSQCA is in continuous coordination with all stakeholders including PVMA in this regard, a meeting (held on 8th December, 2016) of the PSQCA with Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturing Association (PVMA) which was chaired by Director General PSQCA Engr. Muhammad Khalid Siddiq and both agreed on the need to have uniform standards and one conformity assessment procedures as per International Practices, to harmonize interprovincial, international trade and WTO requirements. As per PSQCA Act, 1996 (Section 14). The PVMA discussed quality control issues of edible oils and Banaspatti Ghee and ensured the PSQCA for its cooperation and collective working regarding market surveillance on continuous basis as laid down in PSQCA procedure (quarterly surveillance of factory as well as market surveillance) for the health of consumers. The PVMA assured the PSQCA for its full cooperation to improve the implementation of the PSQCA’s policy for establishing of a quality conscious culture through the country. It may be added that presently more than 120 licensed manufacturers of vegetable ghee and cooking oil are engaged in their imports, manufacturing, keeping in stock and selling activities under the license from Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (under section 14 of PSQCA Act VI of 1996).