Public Health Inspectors urged the Government to launch a probe into the claims that stocks of Thriposha handed over to Medical Officers of Health (MoHs) for distribution amongst pregnant and breast-feeding mothers and infants, containing the carcinogen aflatoxin.
Speaking to the media, President of the Public Health Inspectors’ Union of Sri Lanka (PHIUSL), Upul Rohana yesterday (21) said the Thriposha manufacturer was withdrawing all stocks of the supplementary food which had been distributed to MoHs after aflatoxin, the harmful substance produced by mould, was detected in samples that were tested by the Government Analyst.
“The permitted amount of aflatoxin for children below one year cannot exceed one part in 1,000,000, while for children below five years the permitted amount was five parts in 1,000,000.” He said 30 parts in 1,000,000 was permitted for adults.
But the test reports show that the level of aflatoxin in the stocks of Thriposha was way more than the permitted amounts, he lamented. “Legal action was taken against private sector institutions engaged in producing supplementary food items. But it is unfortunate that nothing is being done regarding a government institution engaged in the preparation of a supplementary food given to infants, pregnant and breast-feeding mothers.”
The PHIUSL President urged the Government to take strict measures against those responsible, regardless of position, for failing to discharge their duties, after an in-depth probe. He alleged that the manufacturer of the supplementary food had no mechanism in place to test the raw materials being used. Nor does the company have a method to test the finished product before issuing it.
The Government manufacturer temporarily suspended production a few months earlier when the imported maize was tested by Customs. Aflatoxin was detected in the imported stocks of maize at the time.
By Dilanthi Jayamanne