Govt. cannot ban milk food adverts - Sirisena

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Though the Health Services Director General Dr. Palitha Maheepala has suspended the advertising of milk powder in the electronic and print media, from August 07 until further notice, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday stressed that the Government could not ban milk food advertisements in the media. 

Addressing the media, at the SLFP Headquarters in Colombo, yesterday he said that the government couldn’t interfere in media decisions on whether or not to carry advertisements from milk powder companies. 

"We can only give recommendations and the rest is in the people’s hands. They should decide whether they would buy milk powder or not," the Minister added.

He said that the further investigations were being conducted to prove the presence of Dicyandiamide (DCD) in imported milk powder from Australia and New Zealand and the bacteria which cause Botulism in all imported milk powder brands available in Sri Lanka, with the assistance of the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) and a leading laboratory in Singapore.  

However, according to the health Ministry’s media spokesman, Dr. Maheepala announced the ban under Food Act Number 26 of 1980 using his powers in consultation with the Food Advisory Committee and recalled all suspected milk powder brands, imported from New Zealand, from the market on Monday.   

It was reported that the milk powder in Sri Lanka is contaminated with a chemical named DCD. China and Russia have already banned importing such contaminated milk powder.

Earlier, foreign and local media reported about contaminated imported milk powder available in Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

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