SJB reveals ‘despicable practices’ of some milk powder importers

Buddhika Pathirana

Matara District Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Buddhika Pathirana told Parliament on Wednesday that some companies imported milk powder and dissolved them in water and released them to the market as liquid milk.

“The consumers think that they drink fresh milk while drinking milk powder dissolved in water. The yoghurt producers, too, buy them thinking that they purchase fresh milk to produce yoghurt. Parents give yoghurts to children without knowing that harmful substances that come with milk powder are there in yoghurt. This despicable practice should be stopped forthwith,” MP Pathirana said.

He said that the practice of dissolving milk powder in water was also detrimental to the interests of local dairy farmers. “I have informed this House numerous times of the harmful elements in imported milk powder. I have submitted a comprehensive report prepared by experts who tested samples of imported milk powder to find substances injurious to people’s health.”

Livestock, Farm Production and Dairy and Egg Related Industries State Minister D. B. Hearth said the government had decided to promote the consumption of fresh milk by assisting the dairy farmers and promoting the import of quality milch cows. Doctors too have informed us that milk powder is not healthy.

MP Pathirana said that local agent companies of multi-national corporations purchased the fresh milk from the local farmers but that milk would not reach the market. “Instead, these companies discard genuine liquid milk and do not let the local dairy farmers’ product reach the market because they would not be able to keep the consumers hooked to their products’ taste. The objectives of importing milch cows to promote milk industry would not be achieved. What would the government do to remedy this?”

State Minister Herath said that MP Pathirana’s statement was true as the ministry had received reports that some companies purchased fresh milk from local farmers and discarded it. “We have commenced a project with the Ministry of Trade to promote purchasing milk from farmers themselves,” he said.

MP Pathirana said that he did not get a response to his question and asked whether the government would get flying squads to visit super markets and check the standards of liquid milk being sold as fresh milk.

Minister Herath said that the matter would be referred to the Health Ministry which had the power to implement the provisions of the Food Act.

(Source: The Island – By Saman Indrajith)