Sri Lanka to Take Legal Action Against New Zeland’s Fonterra

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet decided on Thursday to appoint a sub-committee to investigate dairy giant Fonterra’s milk contamination allegations, which could result in legal action against the company, an official said here.

Media Minister and Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella noted that the Cabinet sub-committee including senior ministers has been appointed to evaluate the milk powder contamination issue and submit a report at the next Cabinet meeting.

He said talks were underway to consider legal implications if Fonterra is found to have distributed milk containing harmful substances.

Rambukwella stated that he also participated in discussions with advertising companies to limit Fonterra’s commercials attempting to clear up the company’s name and maintain sales.

“I already had discussions with advertising companies and urged them to be ethical in this issue. We are willing to let them self- regulate so that they can decide the best way to promote responsible advertising. The idea is that eventually a monitoring system will be established under the media ministry,” he said.

Two batches of New Zealand milk giant Fonterra’s imports were banned by Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry last week for containing toxic agricultural chemical dicyandiamide. But the company has rejected the allegation.

Thirty nine metric tons of milk powder was recalled and products such as chocolate which could also contain contaminated milk powder or protein has also been ordered off shelves in Sri Lanka.

The Ministry warned that legal action will be taken against errant traders who try to sell Fonterra milk powder stamped with the batch number 107610163 (Anchor 1+) and 60500883 (Anchor Full Cream) as well as the other brands.

Despite the ban, recalled milk powder stocks are still being sold in shops, according to local media report.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully is likely to visit Sri Lanka next week to discuss the ban on 39 tons of Fonterra’s milk powder.

Sri Lanka is the fifth largest purchaser of Fonterra products in the world. The company also has two large-scale factories in the island, producing half a million milk packets and yogurt cups each day.-Xinhua

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