Connect with us


GMOF says campaign against milk food consumption a farce



The Government Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) says the campaign against the milk food industry in Sri Lanka is nothing but absolute eyewash as there has never been a planned and sustained campaign against the trade if such efforts were to be considered genuine.

The milk powder industry has been targeted from time to time in an ad hoc manner and the lack of continuity on this score only points to the possibility of a ‘conspiracy’ against the milk food business in the country, the GMOF President, Dr. Rukshan Bellana said in a statement.

“There were two possible theories behind this campaign. The first was that some medical men who aspired to be politicians were merely orchestrating a spectacle to gain popularity in society. The other was that some players in the industry were behind the campaign to gain a competitive advantage”, it asserted.

One may recall the vociferous campaign against the milk food industry at one time, where the ‘target’ was products imported especially from New Zealand. The question that begs an answer was why a particular imported segment was taken to task if milk powder, as a whole, was described as “harmful for consumption”? Therefore, it was obvious that a ‘conspiracy’ was in place with a certain medical trade union handling the anti-marketing campaign, the statement claimed.

“The anti-milk food campaign is bound to resurface in a few months’ time. We, as a medical organization, suspect that the local milk powder industry, in a bid to increase their market share was probably behind the campaign against a milk powder brand imported from a particular country”, Dr. Bellana claimed.

Was it a case of trying to edge out ‘leaders’ so that ‘followers’ could take their place through sustained campaigning with the support of a trade union? How was it claimed that imported milk powder was ‘unsuitable’ for consumption when there was neither scientific research nor laboratory evidence to prove that milk powder was unhealthy or harmful to the human body?, he asked.

There are, apart from food scientists, academics and research fellows, recognized research institutions in the country but none of them has produced any evidence on so-called ‘harmful effects’ of imported milk powder on the health of the people. In addition, there are also internationally recognized laboratories but there has been no evidence so far to substantiate such a hypothesis, the statement further said.

It is also of interest that not a single professional medical association has commented on the subject. The Health Promotion Bureau of course promotes breast milk for children but that doesn’t mean it has adopted an anti-milk powder stand. It is now clear that the campaign was launched to mislead the public and discourage them from consuming milk food especially products imported from New Zealand, it said.

“As a medical trade union, we believe that funding such misinformation campaigns and thereby misleading the public is against the law. However, there was no action forthcoming on this score”, it outlined.

The GMOF statement added: “We also see a move to popularize drinking so-called ‘Kola Kenda’ through a trade similar to the milk powder industry, where processed ‘Kola Kenda’ packets are being produced under diverse native names. The move appears to be a bid to replace the milk-drinking habit of the population with ‘Kola Kenda’.

“It was like in the early 1970’s before the advent of the milk powder industry when there was a vibrant campaign to popularize drinking fresh milk. This later changed into packeted milk powder. ‘Kola Kenda’ has already come in packeted form. It is not the fresh, home-made healthy ‘Kola Kenda’ we have been used to for generations.

The most risky aspect of this proposition is giving school children packeted ‘Kola Kenda’ with preservatives and other chemicals added to the contents”, the trade union warned.

In terms of international guidelines we can be assured that the manufacturing process of milk food in New Zealand at least adhere to hygiene and highest quality standards, but the quality and safety of the locally manufactured packeted ‘Kola Kenda’ products are questionable, it said.

At this rate, ‘Kola Kenda’ products in packeted form will soon be a multi-million rupee business, the statement added.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


‘Those who fear exposure making a din over Easter Sunday carnage PCoI report – PM



Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said that some of those who fear that they will be held accountable under the law for the Easter Sunday attacks are now making a big noise over the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the carnage.

“They know that they will be exposed. That’s why they are making a din in the belief they could escape being taken to task under the law”, the premier told The Sunday Island.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has declared March 7 as ‘Black Sunday’ to demand justice to the victims of the attacks by bringing before the law those responsible for the carnage.

Church leaders have their congregations to be attired in black when they attend mass on Sunday. Church bells will toll at 8.45 am, the time of the near-simultaneous attacks, and special prayers will be offered for justice for the victims.

Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that the CID will begin investigations shortly to initiate the process of filing legal action against those responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks.

Continue Reading


Sri Lankan High Commission in India remains headless for 14 months




Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, March 5:

The Sri Lankan High Commission in India has remained without a Head of Mission for 14 months now.

Veteran civil servant Austin Fernando, who was posted here as the High Commissioner, went back home in January last year.

Former Minister Milinda Moragoda was appointed as the new High Commissioner with a Cabinet rank late last year, and India has accepted the appointment shortly thereafter.

But Moragoda is yet to take charge. It is not clear when he is planning to arrive in India.

Being a large neighbour and in view of excellent relations between the two countries, India is important for Sri Lanka.

Besides, as many as 92 New Delhi-based Ambassadors and High Commissioners are also concurrently accredited to Sri Lanka. Only 41 countries maintain their diplomatic missions in Colombo.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, direct flights between the two countries were suspended early last year. But Air India has been running special flights at regular intervals from Colombo to New Delhi and other cities to bring back Indian nationals stranded in Sri Lanka while on a holiday or a business trip.

India has also created air bubbles to allow flights to over 20 countries, including Bangladesh. But Sri Lanka is not one of them. Negotiations are said to be in progress to make this happen in due course of time.

Sources in Colombo said Moragoda is expected to leave later this month.



Continue Reading


WFP and Korea to Help Supply Thriposha to Children and Mothers



COLOMBO – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) are supporting the Government of Sri Lanka with funding worth USD 600,000 (LKR 117 million) to procure maize for the production of Thriposha.

The funding will be used to produce Thriposha, a maize-based fortified food product, which will be provided to 1.1 million mothers and children. The grant from Korea helps ensure continuation of the Thriposha programme, which the Government of Sri Lanka has been conducting for almost 50 years to provide nutrition to undernourished children and pregnant and lactating women.

Thriposha, which means triple nutrients, is a locally produced supplementary food product, provided free of charge to children below 5 years of age who are underweight or with a slow rate of weight gain and pregnant and lactating women with a low body mass index (BMI), through the public health system.

“The world is facing unexpected circumstances while battling with the pandemic,” says Kang Youn Hwa, KOICA Sri Lanka Office Country Director. “The contribution from KOICA for the Thriposha National Programme was extended with the objective of improving the nutritional status of vulnerable people, especially children and pregnant/lactating women who are disproportionately affected by Covid-19. KOICA stands in solidarity with the Government of Sri Lanka during this difficult time.”

This latest contribution forms part of the activities carried out by KOICA — the Official Grants Division to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea — in response to Covid-19. KOICA has been present in Sri Lanka for over two decades, with programmes that support a variety of sectors including education, health, rural development, water management and transportation. One such intervention is the “R5n” programme, a joint project conducted with WFP since 2019. “R5n” aims to improve the lives and livelihoods of rural smallholder farmers by strengthening their resilience to recurring climate shocks, especially drought. KOICA’s support for the procurement of maize to produce Thriposha complements its on-going assistance to the Government of Sri Lanka.

Covid-19 has brought about fresh challenges in the country, including an estimated rise in unemployment and reduced incomes. This affects a family’s ability to access nutritious food and threatens to have long-lasting impacts on the health and nutrition standards in the country. The Thriposha programme provides a readily accessible source of nutrition to mothers and children when they need it the most.

The Ministry of Health requested WFP’s support in ensuring a continuous supply of Thriposha. In response to this, WFP together with KOICA, arranged to provide funding to bolster the Thriposha programme and help safeguard the health and nutrition of women and children.

“WFP has been supporting the Thriposha programme for over a decade, as part of its efforts to improve nutrition standards in the country,” says Andrea Berardo, Deputy Country Director of WFP Sri Lanka, highlighting that Sri Lanka ranks among the countries with the highest rates of wasting, known as thinness, among children under 5 years of age (15 percent). “This latest contribution reflects our long-standing support to the government to not just treat, but also prevent these high rates of malnutrition and importantly, safeguard development gains made within the country.”

In 2021 and beyond, WFP will continue to work with the government to enhance the national health system as part of its efforts in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2 of enhancing food security and improving nutrition in the country.

Continue Reading