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Ranawaka, ITI stand their ground



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By Dilanthi Jayamanne


Minister of Technology Research and Atomic Energy (TRAE), Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday accused milk powder importers of making false statements to sell their products, claiming that the milk powder available in the market was free of Dicyanamide (DCD). 


Addressing an emergency press briefing, at the Institute of Industrial Technology (ITI), Ranawaka questioned their ability to make such a claim when New Zealand had officially banned the use of DCD only in January this year. The New Zealand government pledged that the milk powder exported would be free from DCD only by June this year, he said.


The samples to be tested for DCD had been taken from the latter part of last year, the minister explained and they contained DCD.


The Health Ministry and the Ministry of TRAE would do everything possible to ensure the safety of the milk consumed by the country’s children, Minister Ranawaka said. Citing an example  of the use of DDT in the 1930s the Minister said that it had taken over four decades for the US to impose a ban on the poisonous chemical which was used to destroy harmful insects. "We are not prepared to let any commercial organisation use our children as guinea pigs for testing the effects of yet another chemical," he claimed.


The Minister said that 79,000 MT of milk powder had been imported to the country annually. Some 8,000 MT were imported monthly. Only some batches were affected by the DCD when sample tests were carried out. Amongst them was milks imported from Australian as well. He said that the company would have to look into the matter as the DCD issue had only cropped up in New Zealand.


The batches which were pronounced by the Industrial Technology Institute to be free of DCD were those taken from a consignment of milk powder which had been shipped in June this year. Minister Ranawaka, said, however, more random testing would be carried out to ensure that the samples in the market were free of DCD. "Our children have the right to drink milk free of DCD, Minister Ranawaka said.


ITI CEO G. A. Sirimal Premakumara, responding to some of the allegation leveled against the ITI earlier, said that they had been unable to carry out DCD tests earlier as they had to import some of the required technology. The Institute had the required knowledge. But a proper internationally recognised analysis method had to be established. He said that the ITI was hoping to receive the ISO/IEC17025:2005 as early as possible.


He said that random sampling had been carried out by the ITI and certain batches of Fonterra products and the Maliban nonfat milk powder had tested DCD positive. 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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