Substandard food: a big dilemma

Habib Ullah

Balance nutrition is required for every individual and it should be the responsibility of the government to provide it on priority basis as it is one of the basic needs of human beings. The physiological system also works properly if our food intake is proper and fulfills all the necessities of body. The availability of different enzymes and hormones required for the immune system also depends on balanced diet. Therefore, to mitigate the chances of chronic ailments and improve the overall health and well-being, nutrition plays an extremely significant role.

However, the body acquires these benefits if the quality food will be taken by the individual, which is called balanced diet. A balanced diet contains all the nutrients such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water required by the body in proper amount and each nutrient has its own recommended daily allowance suggested by the World Health Organization. A deficiency of a nutrient for a longer period of time, or, malnutrition leads to multiple serious consequences and even cancer. Even the dearth of a single amino acid can cause severe repercussions and not only culminate on daunted disorders but also disturb the whole physiological system.

But unfortunately our food production and monitoring system is very poor while the unavailability of essential food items deteriorating people’s health day by day. There is adulteration in almost all food items such as milk, ghee, sugar, flour, and even the mineral water of a registered company is not of prescribed level. It is evident from a case heard by the august Supreme Court of Pakistan, when the Chief Justice of Pakistan ordered to analyze the sample. By doing so the water was found unsuitable for drinking as that contained many harmful strains of bacteria and the Arsenic level was also higher.

Therefore, to protect the people from harmful effects of these stuffs, awareness in masses about the food intake is a dire need of the day. In developing countries, including our own homeland, the food preparation from growing to cooking is poorly monitored, as a result the brutal food mafia is playing with the lives of the innocent people. If we examine a small shop in a street, it will be full of substandard food items, especially for children. Majority of the children and parents does not know that such stuffs are mostly unregistered and have been produced by the unskilled and non-professional workers.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, many people have installed machinery in their homes and are manufacturing low quality ice creams, candies, biscuits, chocolates, chips, bubble gums and some unknown items given strange names by them. These items are transported without any barricade and the vehicles full of them can be seen on roads and have caused extremely severe diseases in children. If pragmatic steps are not taken by the parents and the government, it will be a huge menace ahead.

I am an eye witness of a case happened in my neighborhood. My cousin took his daughter to the hospital for checkup. After conducting some tests, the doctor asked him that what he had given to his child and told him that if he would continue such food she would suffer from cancer. After the investigation, it was found that the child had eaten the so-called food products on daily basis, and when she was prohibited from them, she recovered automatically without any medication. Majority of the people do not know about their devastation and even consider them beneficial for health; however, these items have done irreparable loss to the human bodies, especially throat, intestines, stomach and liver.

Now, we conclude many things from this scenario. Firstly, the people are mostly unaware about the repercussions of poor quality food products and the government should focus on their education so that they may avoid the above ailments without any expense. Similarly, children are the nurture buds and backbone of a country and if we fail to look after them, there will be no appropriate work force to run the industry, proper athletes for games, quality brains to conduct applied research and even enthusiastic individuals to be recruited in the armed forces. As a result, we will not only lose a huge amount of money but also will be unable to compete the world in various significant fields.

Therefore, if we have to make our economy consolidated and protect the health of our masses to go along the world in every field, we would have to discourage and eradicate the adulterated food mafias who distribute poison amongst the masses in the name of nutritious food. The government should not only do proper legislation but also ensure its implementation to reduce the burden on the weak shoulders of already miserable society.

The writer is a Ph.D scholar at the Sun Yat-sen University, China. He can be contacted at:

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