1. Introduction / Background:
The Directorate of Nutrition Survey and Research working in
Karachi was shifted to National Health Laboratories (NHL) in
1967, and was re-named as Nutrition Division in 1971, on
partition of the East and West Pakistan.
Nutrition Division has been assigned the duty of monitoring and
surveillance of nutrition situation in the country. It
undertakes research and specific nutrition programs for the
control of malnutrition and acts as advisory body to the Federal
Government for food and nutrition policies and future planning.
The Division actively participates in the development and
up-dating of food standards and monitors quality control of both
processed and unprocessed foods. It also works as Federal Public
Analyst Laboratory for ICT and Reference Laboratory for Wheat
Flour Fortification Program at national level.
Management of the Division is being administered through a
Technical Working Group (TWG) within given terms of reference.
Monthly meeting of TWG is held to review the progress.
Reduce malnutrition and burden of food borne illnesses through
strengthening of food quality control system in the country.
This Division would provide food analytical services to the
public, private and industrial sector, employing highest
possible quality control and quality assurance measures, would
develop food standards, undertake research and laboratory
trainings and extend expertise to national / international
Organizations for conducting nutrition surveys.
4. Set up of the Division:
The Division is comprised of the following laboratories: It
include 21 technical professionals with support of 20 personnel.
Laboratories are provided with advance equipments / computers
and trained manpower for use:
1. Public Analyst Laboratory
2. Biochemical Food Laboratory
3. Chemical Water Testing Laboratory
4. Microbiological Laboratory:
5. Iodine Laboratory
6. Reference Laboratory for Fortified Wheat Flour
7. Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points Techniques Laboratory
8. Applied Nutrition Section (Nutrition Education and Diet
Routine and Specialized Services:
For more than four decades, this Division is engaged in routine
and specialized laboratory analysis for food and water received
from various organizations and individuals. Public Analyst
Services are also being provided to DHS CDA, DHO ICT and DFC ICT.
The food and water samples from Prime Minister Secretariat and
President House are also being analyzed.
Research and Training facilities are provided to the
postgraduate studentís of national and international
universities, organizations and institutes. The salient features
of the services provided include:
Public Analyst Laboratory:
This laboratory undertakes the analysis of raw, cooked and
processed foods received from Food Inspectors, Directorate of
Health Services, CDA and District Health Officer ICT, Islamabad.
The tests are carried out in accordance with legal requirement
of the West Pakistan Pure Food Ordinance 1960, and Pure Food
Rules (1965) thereof, for provision of safe and wholesome foods
to the local population, besides curbing food adulteration.
Biochemical Food Laboratory:
Food samples are being analyzed for quality parameters received
from public, private and industrial sector. The food commodities
include food grains e.g. wheat, wheat flour, rice etc. vegetable
oil, ghee, butter, milk, milk products, honey, tea, sugar, salt,
spices, beverages, condiments and other miscellaneous items.
Chemical Water Testing Laboratory:
Water received from different sources i.e. bore, well,
tube-well, filtered, bottled water etc is analyzed for various
physico-chemical parameters e.g. color, odor, pH, conductivity,
total dissolved solids, hardness, calcium, magnesium, sulphate,
chloride, sodium, potassium, nitrate and nitrite contents, to
ascertain the quality of drinking water. In addition water used
for construction purpose and swimming pools is also tested.
Food and water samples received from public, private and hotels
/ restaurants are analyzed for microbiological contamination to
assess the biological hazards.
Salt samples received from various sources are analyzed for
quality parameters and for determination of iodine contents in
iodized salt. Urine samples received from different
organizations are analyzed for iodine levels. Iodine Test kits
are also produced in this laboratory.
Reference Laboratory for National Wheat Flour
Fortification Program (NWFFP):
The food analytical lab has been designated as a Reference
Laboratory for NWFFP by the Nutrition Wing, Ministry of Health,
Government of Pakistan. The samples of fortified wheat flour
with iron and folic acid are received from production units
(flour mills) and provincial public analyst laboratories for
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP):
Food is not always safe (risk free) in absolute terms, these
risks need to be identified and addressed through application of
HACCP techniques. Training of food handlers and industry
personnel is conducted with WHO collaboration.
Applied Nutrition Section:
Nutrition education is imparted in the schools of Rawalpindi /
Islamabad and lectures are delivered for creating awareness
among the children regarding basic facts about nutrition and use
of available food resources for balanced diet. The Division
actively participates in Television programs on nutrition for
general public. Therapeutic diets are also planned for the
Islamabad Capital Territory Pure Food Act-
The food regulatory framework is operating under The Pure Food
Ordinance 1960¬Ē (West Pakistan Ordinance VII of 1960 and
subsequently framed Pure Food Rules, 1965. The Division has
revised The West Pakistan Pure Food Ordinance 1960 as Islamabad
Capital Territory Pure Food Act ¬Ė 2009; it will confer powers to
the Ministry of Health, to up-date Pure Food Rules 1965, so that
food adulteration and sale of injurious / sub standard foods
could be checked (Draft Bill submitted to MOH).
Development of Food Standards:
This Division actively participates in developing and up-dating
the standards for various food and food products in
collaboration with Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority (PSQCA)
Karachi. Currently Chief Nutrition Division NIH is also the
Chairperson for Agriculture and Food Products Divisional Council
and Food Hygiene Sectional Committee.
Iodine Test Kit:
Nutrition Division has developed a semi-quantitative testing kit
in 2001 for use in the field surveys and in-process quality
control of iodized salt production. Quality assessment of the
kit was conducted by UNCIEF, New York. UNICEF and Micronutrient
Initiative Islamabad are the major clients.
Iron Test Kit:
Single reagent Iron Test Kit has been developed for
semi-quantitative estimation of iron in fortified wheat flour.
Chlorine Test Kit:
A rapid Chlorine Test Kit has been developed for estimation of
residual chlorine in drinking water.
Diet Manual for Hospitals in Pakistan-
Nutritional Care in Health and Disease:
Hospital diet manual was prepared for health care professionals
providing nutritional care to the patients. Therapeutic diets
have been planned for patients suffering from various diseases /
National Food Based Dietary Guidelines (NFBDG):
National Food Based Dietary Guidelines were prepared to promote
the principles of nutrition education with special emphasis to
foods. They provide science-based evidence to promote health and
reduce the risk of chronic diseases like hypertension,
cardiovascular diseases, diabetes etc. through diet and physical
National Food Safety Policy:
The Government of Pakistan is committed to provide wholesome
food to the people. Ensuring food safety is essential
requirements for protecting public health, as food borne
illnesses reduce human productivity, tax health care system and
affect economic growth. This document / policy will help in
ensuring food safety; an essential requirement for protecting
National Food Safety Plan and Strategies for
Food quality control system of the country is far from
satisfactory, the safe food approach is through "The West
Pakistan Pure Food Ordinance 1960" and there under framed "Pure
Food Rules, 1965". The implementation strategies will help to
improve food safety situation in the country.
7. Programs and Projects:
Improvement of Nutrition through PHC,
Nutrition Education and Public Awareness Program:
This is a collaborative program between Nutrition Division, NIH
and Nutrition Wing, MoH, Islamabad. The following research
studies have been undertaken by the Division and in
collaboration with NIFA and NWFP, Peshawar :
Estimation of goitrogenous substances in foods and their
relationship with prevalence of Goiter.
Nutritional enhancement of cereals and grain legumes through
sprouting and its utilization as food.
Amylose contents of different food commodities; Influence of
household processing on the Amylose contents of these foods.
Effects of supplementation of a single dose of vitamin- A in
Assessment of nutritional status of adolescents by whole body
impedance in provincial capitals of Pakistan.
To ensure food safety through application of HACCP techniques
in the food catering establishments of teaching hospitals.
KAP on the use of iodized salt and quality
Strengthening of Food Laboratories of
Nutrition Division (PC-I):
A PC-I worth Rs. 25.145 m to Establish Reference Laboratory for
Strengthening of Food Quality Control System at Nutrition
Division, N.I.H., Islamabad. The Food Laboratory has been
up-dated and is functional.
Collaboration with Academic Institutions and
National Internship Program:
Expertise and facilities are extended to the students and
Internees for research and training in the field of Nutrition,
Biochemistry and Microbiology.
Food Safety Program under WHO / JPRM Biennium
The goal of this program is to create awareness on food safety
and quality among different consumer groups and stakeholders and
to reduce the burden of food borne illnesses through
legislation, training and education.
8. Future Plans
Activities and Targets (2009- 2011):
Islamabad Capital Territory Pure Food Act - 2009.
Assessment of nutritional status using bio- impedance along
with counseling services.
Detection of Heavy Metals in water.
Document on Food Safety Management System through application
of ISO 22000:2005 Standard for Small and Medium Enterprises.
Revision of Pure Food Rules, 1965.
Nutrition and Health Education training to dietitians and
community health worker.
Formulation of therapeutic diet manual.
Training program on food Microbiology techniques for other
institutions through international collaboration.
Community Nutritional screening and assessment through
Launch 02 research projects through international
Strengthening of water quality testing Laboratory.
Recruitment of trained Main-power against vacant posts