Lahore : The Food Department has arranged a conference on World Food Day held at The Palace, Pearl Continental Hotel here on Tuesday.
The key speakers of the conference were Food Minister Samiullah Chaudhry, PFA Director General Captain (R) Muhammad Usman, Secretary Food Shoukat Ali, and representatives from Nutrition & National Food Fortification Alliance, FFP, GAIN, UNICEF, World Food Program, Pakistan Flour Mills Association and Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association.
Opening the event, Food Secretary Mr. Shoukat Ali shed light on the importance of World Food Day, which is celebrated annually on 16th October, discussing a different theme each year. The theme for World Food Day 2018 was “Our Actions are Our Future”, along with a campaign tagline “A #ZeroHunger World by 2030”. Mr. Shoukat Ali mentioned in his speech that over population and climate change are increasing issues that need to be tackled with multi-sectoral contributions.
Speaking on the occasion, PFA DG Capt. (R) Muhammad Usman reinstated the fact that “Zero Hunger” does not certainly mean just any kind of food will be provided to the public by 2030, in fact, the quality and nutritious content of the food will be ensured. Further, he shed light on the achievements of the Authority in relation to the energy drinks, ghee, margarine, hatchery eggs, adulteration and tea whiteners. According to DG PFA, other countries followed PFA’s footsteps in ensuring that fizzy drinks are not energy drinks. With a heavy heart DG PFA announced that it took 65 years for our government to establish a department which would ensure food safety and health of the nation, and that in these years, adulteration has become a common practice.
A documentary highlighting the accomplishments of Punjab Food Authority was played at the conference. Lastly, he proposed in the presence of Food Fortification Alliance, FFP and Pakistan Flour Mills Association to join hands and make sure that on the next World Food Day celebration, the availability of fortified flour throughout the province would be guaranteed.
Food Minister Samiullah Chaudhry emphasized on malnutrition as an emerging issue, and talked about food access, food availability, food security and food safety. He mentioned that Pakistan in this day and age has to face a nutrition emergency, and that a roadmap for fortification is ready. He highly praised and appreciated the efforts of Punjab Food Authority. According to him, if the PFA teams work with such integrity, there will be less hospital visits. Food Minister also acknowledged that the way PFA has worked in the last 45 days outweighs the efforts of the Authority since its inception.
Dr. Khawaja Masood Ahmed on behalf of Nutrition & National Fortification Alliance informed the audience that successful work has been done on the fortification of salt and flour, and praised PFA for helping and creating awareness in this regard. Moreover, he stressed on the importance of micronutrients by saying that not only fulfilling the appetite is important, but also the complete balance of macro and micro nutrients is required.
Technical Director FFP, Dr. Tauseef Akhtar Janjua, like his peers, stressed on the fact that malnutrition is a global problem, discussing the cycle of hunger, poverty and development. Talking about the global Sustainable Developmental Goals, Dr. Tauseef stated that 9 of the 17 SDGs are directly related to food fortification. He ended his note by saying that if the children of today are well-fed and are healthy, they will contribute positively to the society in the future.
Representatives from UNICEF, GAIN, WFP and the food industry talked about the importance of fortification, food safety and food availability on the occasion.
Later on, DG PFA along with his team moved to the University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences where he addressed a seminar and talked about the theme of World Food Day 2018, “Our Actions Are Our Future”. He emphasized on the achievements of PFA, and told the audience that misleading food labels have been removed from different food products. Furthermore, he reiterated that there is zero tolerance for adulteration and that the Punjab Food Authority is working hard day and night to protect the public from adulterated foods. PFA, according to him, is not wasting food, but is discarding those adulterated materials which are being used in place of food. Addressing the audience, DG PFA asked the attendees to keep a check on their surroundings and immediately report to PFA using the helpline (0800-80500), website and mobile application.