Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena today activated the ‘Food Regulations’ on milk and milk products in respect of melamine with immediate effect and made it compulsory for all importers and distributors to produce a Health Certificate to confirm the products are melamine free.
The Environment Health Director of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ananda Jayalal told the Daily Mirror that the Health Minister Sirisena had activated the regulations of the Food Act in respect of milk powder and other milk products as a precaution.
“We have received information that the melamine contamination in milk products have been found in China once again and other countries in the region are taking precautionary measures to prevent melamine contaminated products entering their respective countries,” Dr. Jayalal told the Daily Mirror.
Accordingly, importers and distributors of all varieties of milk powder and allied products would have to produce a Health Certificate issued by the National Food Safety Authority (NFSA) of the country of origin (exporting country) certifying that the milk foods are within the safety limits and contain less than one milligramme per one million milligrammes from today.
The regulations have been laid down under the Food (Amendment) Act Number 20 of 1991.
The regulations say that no person shall import, manufacture, transport, distribute, sell, offer or keep for sale any milk product in Sri Lanka, containing melamine in levels exceeding 1.0 mg. part per million milligrammes.
It further says that every person importing milk or milk products into the country shall produce at the point of entry (port) of such product a ‘Health Certificate’ from the NFSA of the country of origin or exporting country as the case may be, which states that the product conforms to the levels specified in the regulations under the Food Act.
“Expenditure on milk products imports in 2010 stood at US$ 259 million (Rs. 26 billion) and there was no proper quality control mechanism for the import of milk and allied products up to now,’ a spokesman of the Health Ministry said.
The Health Ministry meanwhile advises the public to be cautious if someone in the family falls ill after consuming milk made of imported milk powder and especially regarding children.
However, he added there is nothing to panic and all measures have been taken to prevent the entering of melamine contaminated food items to Sri Lanka.