Islamabad - Only 109 items are included in the mandatory list of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), out of which 38 are food items and 71 are non-food items.

The authority has adopted 22,368 standards covering both the food and non-food items among which 1280 includes standards pertaining to Food items. It is unclear that all standards once developed are voluntary in nature except those which are converted to Technical Regulations (Mandatory items) through a formal mechanism for enforcement to protect public interests, an official of Ministry of Science and technology told APP.

 

The rationale of course is that no Conformity Assessment body is equipped to regulate such a large number of items.

Furthermore, a large mandatory list can create significant barriers to trade. 56 PSQCA is mandated to include only processed and packed food items in the list of mandatory items in view of their importance for public health and safety. It has been declared that on the basis of the proposals received from an interested party, such as National Standards Committee, Business Community, Consumers, Consumer Protection Agencies/Associations, NGOs and Public Sector Organizations.

They informed that Ministry of Science and Technology is empowered under Section 14 of PSQCA Act - VI of 1996, to prohibit manufacturing keeping in stock and sale of certain articles (mandatory items/Technical regulation) by notification in official Gazette.