GMOA challenges Health Ministry to show overseas lab reports

by Don Asoka Wijewardena

 The Government Medical Officers’ Association yesterday challenged the Health Ministry to release the laboratory reports from Thailand and Singapore, on samples of milk food sold in Sri Lanka.

GMOA president Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya, responding to a query by The Island at a special media conference yesterday said that the ministry should also reveal its position with regard to findings made by the Industrial Technology Institute of Sri Lanka regarding Dicyandiamide (DCD) in milk food.

The GMOA briefed the press before its meeting with Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena.

The Health Ministry, on Monday, claimed that 144 samples of milk food sold in Sri Lanka had been tested by laboratories in Thailand and Singapore and the results were negative.

Director General of Health Services Dr. Palitha Maheepala had instructed the Food Advisory Committee to conduct further test on milk food. The investigations would be done by laboratories in Thailand and Singapore, according to a statement issued by the Health Ministry.

Dr. Padeniya said that the GMOA would suggest that the government appoint an ministerial Committee to promote liquid milk in Sri Lanka instead of powdered milk. The Committee would have to work with the GMOA and expert guidelines on nutrition would be provided to the committee by the GMOA.

Most of the advanced countries did not promote powdered milk and liquid milk was available in all supermarkets. The GMOA would ask Minister Sirisena to hold a departmental inquiry against the Ministry spokesman who had made a statement that CDC, arsenic and cadmium in food in small quantities were not harmful. That statement was very serious. The very spokesman had said that the common salt (sodium choride) contained more toxins than CDC, Dr. Padeniya said, adding that the Health Ministry had been spending a great deal of money to promote idiolized salt to prevent the development of goiters in women. Such statements contradicted the ministry policy, he said.

Dr. Padeniya said CDC was a poison. Even arsenic and cadmium in small quantities were injurious to human health. The spokesman should be held responsible for making misleading statements, he said.

Dr. Padeniya said that many officials in the health ministry were interested in promoting powdered milk, exported by foreign companies. "The reason is that many high officials in the Ministry are offered foreign trips and perks by the multinational companies for their own advantage. The officials are not concerned with the health of the Sri Lankan children. They are swayed by such benefits."

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