The Pakistani Veterinary Residue Laboratory in Faisalabad, a food laboratory supported by the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has acquired the capability to undertake latest tests to certify the safety of food. It has recently earned International Organization for Standardization (ISO) accreditation, and officials expect this to contribute to increased meat exports thanks to food safety certificates the lab will be able to issue for the first time. Researchers at the IAEA’s laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, have helped the Pakistani Veterinary Residue Laboratory to learn how to perform latest tests to certify the safety of food.

Ahmad Waqar said, “Pakistan produces finest tasting foods in the world, especially meat and other animal products,” the in charge of this cooperation at the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the IAEA. “Pakistan had rejected exports due to noncompliance with the food safety standards of exporting resulting in safety concerns and leads to economic loss and food waste in the past”.

Pakistan’s GDP has 12% part of livestock sector. Due to the presence of contaminants European Union rejected 134 food export consignments back in 2010. All these appeals to improve its food safety control system in Pakistan.

“From food safety point of view, problem is that farmers are not aware about what and how to use drug particularly how long to wait for clearance of drug”, said James Jacob Sasanya food safety specialist at the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. A health hazard can be posed to the consumer if the drug still is in the animal.

For acceptance at export level as safe for consumption products must be tested for drug residues must be within the reference limits. Pakistan on the other hand lack capacity for testing till new laboratory become working,” Waqar said.

Pakistan’s Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission set up the laboratory. The technical cooperation programme of IAEA helped in offering advanced equipment, and supported training opportunities at various European reference laboratories and expert help for implementing measurement protocols and methods along with regular technical advice. the testing capability laboratory has increased Through this support, and received the accreditation valid for 3 years. The lab will analyze 7 types of antibiotics and hormone in food products. Now Pakistan holds the capacity of testing 1000 food samples every year.

Sheep products key export products for sausages making passed through key export products13 quarantine centers in Pakistan that rely on credible testing available at the Veterinary Residue Laboratory and internationally recognized in Pakistan. “Pakistan can rely on its own analytical capabilities after this new achievement,” Sasanya said.

Across the world several countries are taking benefit from this nuclear-derived technique helped by IAEA and the FAO including Botswana and Morocco.