August 08, 2014 – BR Report
Local sugar mills were continuously selling `uncertified’ sugar in the market merely to save Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority’s (PSQCA) lab testing and licensing fees, ranging between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000, posing health hazards to consumers.
Most of local sugar mills are reluctant to pay certification fees and unwilling to go into certification process under the PSQCA and, as such, they are selling `untested’ sugar although the PSQCA is the only government institution authorised to approve the standard and quality of sugar and at least 78 other compulsory items.
Although obtaining approval certification from PSQCA for manufacturing and selling food items was mandatory under 1996 Act of parliament, sub-standard sugar was being sold openly in local markets by most of sugar millers and local industries, posing serious health hazards to consumers. Sources in the sugar mills told Business Recorder that most of the sugar millers did not get their products certified from the PSQCA.
Asked what could be the reason behind such a move, they said that they avoid forwarding their samples, particularly the surplus stuff, for testing as they usually indulged in selling low quality and damp sugar about which they knew that it would fail during its lab sampling test. The PSQCA officials said that the certification fee is quite low as compared to profit earned by sugar millers. The revised sugar lab testing fee and license fee ranges between Rs 5,000 and 10,000.
In fact, national exchequer has been incurring a loss of around Rs 100 million as the sugar millers usually avoid getting their product approved from the PSQCA, they said, adding that influential sugar millers often make their task of testing the quality of sugar quite difficult.