SRI LANKA - Sri Lanka's Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) assistant secretary Dr. Nalin Ariyarathne yesterday said that the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) of Sri Lanka has tested samples of imported milk powder and found that they contain dicyanamide (DCD), and lamented that health authorities have not taken any action to ban the products.
The tests were carried out on imported products sold in the retail outlets frequented by members of the public, Ariyarathne said.
GMOA media Secretary Dr. Navin de Soysa said that his organisation would ask Sri Lankan Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena to ban imported milk powder and ask multinational milk product companies to pay compensation to those who consumed their products.
DCD is a poisonous compoud that could cause nervous, respiratory and kidney complications when consumed, Ariyaratne said.
The GMOA would also request for the criminal investigation department to launch an investigation on the health ministry, to find out which official had made a media statement claiming that the imported milk power was lab-tested and safe for consumption.
Ariyaratne said that the dicyanamide was mixed with the grass used to feed cows, to enhance their milk output, and that this has been a long-time practice by many companies.
The doctor added that the errant milk product importers have done more harm than good to Sri Lanka.
"It is a shame that the health ministry official had told the media that the imported milk products sold in Sri Lanka were harmless, based on a report, that he claimed was issued by the Thai government. It is evident that the multinational companies have 'greased the palms' of Sri Lanka's health ministry officials," Ariyaratne said, warning that if the products were not banned, children who consume them would develop very serious health complications.
De Soysa said that Sirisena, who claimed to be against fraud, corruption and malpractices, has chosen to remain silent on the matter. He said that the GMOA will bring the matter to the minister's attention and ask him to invoke a ban on the harmful imported milk products.
"It is high time action is taken to protect the children and people of Sri Lanka. The ITI has conducted many official laboratory tests on the milk products and detected that a harmful substance called dicyanmide was present in all imported milk products. This deafening silence on the part of health authorities and the health minister is puzzling," he said.