Health Ministry warning on sale of banned milk food

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Health Ministry yesterday warned that legal action would be taken against all supermarkets, grocery stores and shops selling banned imported milk products and nutrition supplements containing whey protein. The spokesman for the Health Ministry said that all MOH offices and PHIs had been asked to inspect all groceries and supermarkets in their areas and remove four batches of three brands of milk products.

The Health Ministry spokesman said that inspections had been carried out within Colombo city limits yesterday morning in collaboration with Chief of the Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam and his team and the Director General of Health Services, Dr. Palitha Mahipala.

The spokesman said that a majority of grocers, stores and supermarkets had removed the four batches of milk food from their shelves. However, they were still retailing milk food and nutrition food supplements with whey protein. The spokesman said that the protein contained ‘Clostridium botulinum’, a harmful bacterium and tests were being carried out. The milk food and nutrition supplements would be temporarily discontinued till further notice, he said.

Over 100 samples of products had been tested by the Medical Research Institute (MRI) for Clostridium botulinum. He said that the food items included toffees, milk food, energy-giving milk products, cheese, butter and biscuits. The Health Ministry spokesman also advised consumers to inspect the wrappings of these food items for ingredients before purchasing them and refrain from purchasing items with whey protein.

Meanwhile, Minister of Technological Research and Atomic Energy (TRAE) Patali Champika Ranawaka met High Commissioner of New Zealand Jan Henderson to discuss the issue surrounding the milk imports from New Zealand. Henderson revealed, during discussions, that all milk product manufacturers of New Zealand had been instructed to test for the toxic agricultural chemical dicyandiamide (DCD).

The Media Unit of the TRAE said that Minister Ranawaka had said the government would not permit the testing of harmful substances on the country’s children and adults. They were not to be used as guinea pigs to test the effects of DCD, he stressed.


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