LAHORE: The Punjab Food Authority (PFA), taking a novel approach, has decided to provide medical assistance to people who are working in the food industry and have some health issues, The Express Tribune has learnt.
According to PFA, it recently opened a blood testing laboratory on June 5 to gauge health conditions of the workers.
Around 1,000 people were tested in the lab, of which 78 were found sick. Most of them were suffering from either hepatitis or tuberculosis.
These people were issued red cards and were declared misfit to work in the food industry, whereas those declared healthy were issued green cards.
The authority has not allowed those with red cards to work in the food industry, for the time being, and has decided to extend medical assistance to them.
The PFA, discarding the earlier policy of publicly humiliating food outlets, is bringing about the changes through regulation and through pre-defined mechanism of enforcement.
The food industry despite scepticism, was working hand in glove with the PFA to improve standards of production and the PFA was working on a policy to provide medical assistance to the people who were found unfit to work in food outlets or production units.
The authority, in collaboration with the health department, NGOs and food industry plans to provide a complete medical assistance package to help these people recover from their illnesses and re-join their workplaces.
The authority, according to PFA, plans to allocate 2% of annual income to provide medical aid to such people. The PFA, through a licensee fees and fines, is expecting to generate Rs200 million in the current financial year.
The authority also plans to support these workers financially in their hard times. According to authority officials, they will push food industry to retain these people and do not let them off.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2017.
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