The Government will not endorse the comments made by the Director General of Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI), Cabinet Spokesman- Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said today.
He was referring to comments made by Dr. Siddika Senaratne during a TV talk show with regard to the contaminated coconut oil imported by three importers.
Responding to the media, during yesterday’s weekly Cabinet news briefing, Minister Rambukwella said that an inquiry had already been launched to probe and report on the controversial remarks made and that she will be removed from her post if the committee found her remarks inappropriate and against the Government’s policy.
“We are totally against what she had allegedly said. The government will take a decision on her after the inquiry and a discussion,” he said.
Answering to another query from the media, Minister Rambukwella said the Government was yet to introduce a fixed price for coconut oil but had decided to regulate the entire coconut oil industry.
“However, I don’t deny the fact that there are moves by some unscrupulous traders to jack up the prices of other essential commodities using the coconut oil controversy as an excuse," he noted.
Commenting with regard to the delay in releasing the Gazette notification to prohibit the import of mixed coconut oil, Minister Rambukwella said though the Government made decisions on such issues, the implementation of it would take time as it must go through the bureaucratic procedure.
"I believe that the Gazette notification will be released in a couple of days. But the delay in issuing it is not to give time to an importer to unload a consignment of coconut oil mixed with palm oil as you suggested. I will check with Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardana whether the content of Aflatoxin in coconut oil is 30 ppm or 10 ppm (particles per million),” he said when a journalist said in Sri Lanka it was 30 ppm while globally it was only 10.
Dr. Senaratne during the TV talk show had said that she would not reveal details of importers of contaminated coconut oil with carcinogenic substance Aflatoxin as it would pose a risk to the importers of the unhealthy coconut oil as there was a possibility of their businesses collapsing.(Sandun A Jayasekera)