WASEEM ABBASI The United States US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has refused to allow 340 Pakistani products to be sold in the country, including 46 from a famous company spices’ company Shan Foods for containing poisonous substances, pesticides and other reasons during last one and half year, the official data obtained by this correspondent shows.
Shockingly most of these products are continuously being sold in Pakistan amid weak food regulations and poor implementation of existing laws by the authorities.
The official data of FDA shows a list of 85 Pakistani companies whose products have been refused by the reputed US body for sale in the United States. These products include packed spices, dried fruit, medical equipment, rice, jams, sauces and medicines.
Three famous Pakistani food companies Ahmed Foods, Mitchell’s Fruit Farms Limited and National Foods have made it to the list. One is famous for spices while other two manufacture jams, jellies and pickle. The list only contains the products refused from January 2014 to May 2015.
While contacted, an official of Shan Foods claimed the rejections are only a small part of its exports and the fact that there was no complaints against the company within Pakistan shows that its products are safe for consumption.
While some of the products have been refused for packaging rules violations so other have been refused on serious charges that may cause concerns for Pakistani consumers who are still buying these products within the country.
A spokesman of the Federal Ministry of Food says the issue does not fall under the purview of the Food Department and the Ministry of Industries is responsible for the safety of these products.
The shipment of Karachi-based spices’ company containing ginger root, garlic bulb in past was rejected for containing a dangerous pesticide chemical in these projects.
The company’s 46 shipments were refused by FDA. Its mixed spices were rejected for containing Salmonella, a poisonous and deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health.
One of the its spice product had been rejected last year for containing a tobacco product.Most of the food products from the other two companies were rejected for containing Salmonella.
While contacted by The News, the head of Quantity Assurance Department of the company Ahmad Waqar said the products being sold in Pakistan are safe. He said he was not aware of the reason for rejection of the company’s products by US FDA.
“Do you not use our spices in food? How come you have not fallen ill?” he asked. He said millions of Pakistanis are using spices and other products of the company and they are still enjoying a healthy life which shows the products are not bad for health.
As many as 39 herbal medical products of another Karachi based company Hemani International were rejected for failing to meet FDAstandards. Some of the items contain color addictive.
Around a dozen varieties of basmati rice from four different companies have also been banned in US for containing dangerous pesticides.
HERE IS THE FDA DATA FILE on Pakistan Import refusals for this period.