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POSTED AT 08:21 AM 09-02-2019

Party Leaders to decide on PSC proposal after CAA report

Imported milk powder issue :

The proposal to appoint a Parliament Select Committee (PSC) to look into issues related to imported milk powder will be taken up at a Party Leaders’ Meeting after obtaining a report from the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA), Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said.

Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Buddhika Pathirana, making a personal clarification in Parliament yesterday, firmly stood by his previous statement that the ministry has received complaints that certain imported milk powder companies were mixing animal fat with lactose.

“I did not mention the name of any company in my revelation on Tuesday. However, Fonterra Company promptly issued a press release denying the allegation. Moreover, Dr.Athula Kahandaliyanage, a former Health Ministry Secretary and former Health Services Director General, is now a holding a post in the Fonterra Company.

His associates are still there in the Health Ministry and he can influence them. A former CAA Chairman told me that this person had threatened him over the phone demanding his support to get the milk powder prices increased if he wants to continue in the post. Some representatives of Fonterra Company said they would resolve this matter diplomatically. I hope our President, Prime Minister and Cabinet will stand strong. Sri Lanka is no longer a colony,” Pathirana said.

He said when the issues of DCD and Melamine cropped up in the past, the samples were sent to the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) and the allegations were confirmed.

“Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, who held the Science and Technology portfolio at that time, stood by the test reports of the ITI. Yet, the topic was diverted by the companies and the media was bribed with advertisements. When a suspension was imposed on milk powder imports, New Zealand diplomats intervened to get it lifted,” he added.

Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella requested the Speaker to obtain a report from the CAA over the matter.

The Speaker while agreeing to it, also informed the House that only pasteurized milk is served in Parliament. “Some MPs inquired me whether the milk served in Parliament is safe. We only use pasteurized milk in Parliament,” he said.

Disna Mudalige and Camelia Nathaniel