Tag Archives: Punjab Food Authority

‘This is a Jihad’: Ayesha Mumtaz on bringing to heel Lahore’s restaurant ‘mafia’

This article was originally posted in Newsweek

Benazir Shah

Ayesha Mumtaz2

No one seems particularly shocked when the notorious Ayesha Mumtaz arrives for a surprise inspection of a roadside barbeque joint in Lahore’s Johar Town. Surrounded by three food safety officers and one Elite Force guard, she sweeps into the kitchen and immediately hones in on the stove—which is set up next to an open sewer. “You couldn’t find a better place to cook?” she asks a worker. “Where is the owner?”

A burly man, at least a foot taller than Mumtaz, steps forward and in a guarded tone tells her the concrete slab covering the gutter is broken. An accompanying waiter chimes in by claiming it will be fixed tomorrow. She cuts him off. “I did not ask you.” Moving deeper into the “kitchen”, Mumtaz orders the owner to open the freezer. Her face narrows in anger. Using her cellphone, she photographs all visible violations—a dirty freezer, no soap at sinks, poor hygiene of food handlers, improper storage of meat and dairy, proximity to sewage.

At least 50 people—customers and employees alike—are now watching the proceedings, following the 38-year-old civil servant’s every move. Playing to her audience, Mumtaz scolds the owner: “If your patrons knew what you were feeding them, they wouldn’t even spit on your food.” Finding that he has no food license, Mumtaz’s staff shutters the business. Pointing at his serving tables, which encroach on public space, she jokes with her team: “He should thank his stars I’m not in the City District Government anymore, or I would’ve bulldozed this place.” It’s unlikely the demolition would’ve gone any faster than Mumtaz’s incursion; she inspected, documented and shut down the restaurant within 28 minutes. Continue reading

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PFA seizes pork meat being ‘supplied to Lahore markets’

pork

LAHORE: The Punjab Food Authority on Wednesday claimed to have seized several kilograms of pork meat being supplied to Lahore and different parts of the province.

In a raid carried out near the Lahore Railway station, the authority also arrested a suspect transporting the banned meat from Rawalpindi. The meat was found inside large drums loaded on a train.

“It is being supplied to Lahore and then it is further sent to chains and restaurants where edible food is prepared,” Ayesha Mumtaz, DG Operations of the Punjab Food Authority, told Geo News.

The suspect said he was taking the meat to a factory in Sheikhpura where he believed they used it to produce some kind of chemical.

Also read: Huge quantity of meat of dead horses, donkeys recovered in Lahore

But Mumtaz claimed the suspect was a member of a gang involved in supplying pork meat to different restaurants and food chains of Lahore and surrounding areas for consumption. The food authority official said that the supply of the banned meat was being carried out illegally for a long time on train.

She said that samples of the meat will be sent for DNA tests.

“We will carry out proper DNA testing of this meat and will take legal action against this suspect. We believe that this is an elaborate mafia, a chain and a vicious circle,” she said.

Consumption of pork is prohibited in Islam and banned in Muslim-majority Pakistan.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the reports of pork being supplied to parts of Punjab, and ordered authorities to submit a report in this regard.

This article was originally published here