Sick sheep and contradictory test results
THE Australian sheep are said to be unfit for human consumptions. Unloading of these 21,000 sheep was earlier refused by the vigilant Bahrain government at its port before these sick animals were dumped in Karachi. Earlier two different test results were done; one claiming the animals were safe, the other declaring it infected.
On the orders of the court tests were conducted against only to find conflicting results. Now as reported, the samples would be sent abroad for testing.
There is a famous saying about computers ‘garbage in, garbage out’. What will you put in a small glass laboratory jar/bottle for testing, the result would accordingly be to ‘what’ was actually put?
Many years ago, a Customs public auction notice appeared in newspapers, listing dozens of items including one named ‘food chemicals’. I knew these confiscated items usually remain for a year to several years under the open sky in harsh whether conditions severely affecting their true usefulness.
These confiscated items by Customs or by banks, or deliberately uncleared by importers pass through a long legal channel with several notices, public notices, then court proceedings for getting those auctioned during which period these suffer the worst environmental setbacks.
To that specific item ‘food chemicals’, as a conscientious citizen, I raised the issue that even if there might still a little validity be left, by the time this item reaches the end user in the shape of prepared food items, these items would be expired.
It is in that case much better to get such items destroyed rather than auction for a little amount for human consumption.
Fortunately, the man on the chair to deal my complaint was a man blessed by God with public spirit. He understood my point and moved into action. The Customs submitted a laboratory test report. This laboratory test was done when a conscientious citizen showed his concern otherwise there would have never been any testing at all.
The report submitted said that the sample of a soft drink was fit for consumption. I argued that the item to be auctioned was ‘food chemicals’, while the item tested (specimen sent to the laboratory) was a soft drink.
Unluckily, at that time I was abroad. On my argument, the response from the Customs was really ‘amazing’. Customs said that why this complainant, who is working abroad, does not return to Pakistan and serve the people if he is so sincere.
This unfortunate nation has in its national memories many cases of ‘test results’. First one was during Ayub Khan when a huge amount of gold was confiscated allegedly from an infamous smuggler.
When after many years the case came in the court, the laboratory test confirmed it confiscated item as ‘silver’. Recently, a full truck load of Gandhara artefacts were confiscated in Karachi. During police investigations, these turned out fakes.
If a piece of home-grown chicken will be put to laboratory test, it will find it fit for consumption. If a piece of diseased hen from a poultry farm will be tested, the laboratory will confirm it infected.
So, the point always would be if in the testing jar or bottle desired to be tested locally in Islamabad or Karachi or abroad what was actually put for testing, a soft drink or a ‘food chemical’.
THE Australian sheep mystery has further deepened. The matter is in the Sindh High Court which has stayed culling of the sheep.
These sheep were tested positive for having infection form a lab run and managed by the livestock department of Sindh government.
A technical team of experts appointed by the SHC cleared the sheep of any such infection. Meanwhile, samples sent to the Central National Laboratory in Islamabad issued a negative report for any infectious disease in the animals.
Another sample was sent to the Agricultural University, Tandojam. The report of this oldest institute of Sindh revealed sheep having infection.
Because of this, the SHC ordered now to send samples to a reputable laboratory in the UK. All this is very embarrassing for us. What a pity that we cannot perform a simple test here.
This will remain a big question that why we cannot issue a required scientific report.
After all this, what impression will the Australians get? We should try to improve our standard. In the future, we should not depend on others.
DR ALFRED CHARLES