Court restrains Fonterra from advertising

By Chitra Weerarathne

The Court of Appeal yesterday issued an interim order restraining Fonterra Brands Private Limited from advertising milk foods imported and distributed by them as being 100 percent fit for common consumption.

The interim relief is valid till Aug. 21, 2013.

A petitioner from Matale, Kamal Samarasinghe, yesterday requested the Court of Appeal to restrain the Fonterra Brands Private Limited from publishing or airing advertisements which misled the consumers into believing that the milk powder imported and distributed by it was 100 percent safe..

The petitioner has, in his petition  filed recently, claimed that Dr. Channa Jayasumana, Medical Officer and member of the Kelaniya University research team which studied the kidney ailments had told the media that milk powder imported form New Zealand contained an agro chemical called dicyandiamide (DCD), which was harmful to human health and was as bad as arsenic. Despite that warning by a medical expert, the Consumer Affairs Authority, failed to educate the public on the risk factor, the petitioner has said.

The petitioner has referred to an article published in a certain Sunday Newspaper, where, the Fonterra Brands said that the milk imported and distributed by them was very safe and fit for human consumption.

The petitioner has requested the Court to totally prohibit the advertisement.

The petition has also said that President Rajapaksa recently ordered the authorities to publish laboratory tests on imported milk foods. The petitioner has requested the Court to compel the authorities to submit those reports to Court.

Counsel Upul Jayasuriya appearing with Sandamal Rajapakse, supported the petition. The Bench comprised, Justices S. Sriskandarajah (President) and Malinee Guneratne.

Representatives of the Consumer Affairs Authority and Fonterra were not present in Court, yesterday though they had been notified by the petitioner.

The next date of hearing will be Aug. 19. 2013.

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