Sri Lanka’s state-owned consumer rights watchdog, Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) last week started acting on the complaints made on dumping of confectionery items manufactured out of banned ingredients risking the lives of the consumers.
It was only recently the apex body for confectionary manufacturing - Lanka Confectionery Manufacturers Association (LCMA) - brought to the notice that certain unscrupulous parties of importing such confectionery items, which are made out of harmful and banned ingredients with impunity.
To this end, the CAA has called for a meeting with LCMA this week to obtain further insights into the matter.
“We have called for a meeting with them (LCMA) to discuss on this issue as well as other issues faced by the industry on unfair trade,” said Consumer Affairs and Information Director Chandrika Thilakarathne.
Meanwhile, LCMA said such outlets are gradually increasing. “Today, there are specialized confectionery shops in the city selling imported confectionery. Not only do they conform to the local labelling regulations but have used banned ingredients risking the lives of the future generation of our country,” the LCMA said.
Swift action on the matter is highly warranted by the CAA to verify these claims and to act on the errant traders because they mostly target the children population, the most vulnerable segment in our society.
According to LCMA Secretary Adrian Fonseka, while they have identified two such chains of confectionery importers, the full list of importers would be made public in due course. “We have identified two such chains which are into nuts and confectionery and sweetshops. They were seen increasing their outlets in recent times,” Fonseka said.
While the health hazard posed by these confectionery items will have an irreparable damage to the lives, these traders cause further harm to the country’s economy by increasing the import bill of this country, which has already reached unsustainable levels.
Sri Lanka’s confectionery manufacturing industry is among the few which contributes over 90 percent of the local demand and also exports to over 55 countries.
Nevertheless, the industry is hit by a host of taxes on imported ingredients and unfair competition in the domestic market due to low-cost imported confectionery items.