Connect with us

News

SLSI cracks the whip on substandard Chinese canned fish imports

Published

on

By Suresh Perera

The clamp down on the import of substandard canned fish with an intolerable level of arsenic, particularly from manufacturers in China, has sparked a grave shortage of the commodity in the market, industry officials said.

With the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) coming down hard on cheap, low quality imports from China in May-June last year, container loads of canned fish were rejected due to their high arsenic content. The contaminated stocks were ordered to be either destroyed or re-exported to the country of origin, they recalled.

“It is true that there is a scarcity of canned fish in the market because supply cannot meet the demand. However, this does not mean we should allow our people to be poisoned through arsenic-laden imports”, says Dr. Siddhika Senaratne, SLSI’s Director-General. As the sea in China is heavily polluted and dirty due to lax environmental laws, fish harvested for canning has a high arsenic content, she explained.

Many local importers earlier procured poor quality, low cost Chinese products because of the substantial profit margin”, she noted. “They have to now access better quality brands within the permissible arsenic level”.

With the SLSI stipulating a maximum arsenic tolerance standard of 1.0 milligram per kilogram of fish, a filtering mechanism is now in place to shut out substandard imports, Dr. Senaratne outlined.

There’s no issue with canned fish consignments imported from Chile, the scientist said. “We need products that are clean, hygienic and safe for consumption”.

“There have been suggestions that we lower our standards on the arsenic content, but that cannot be done as any flexibility on evaluating hygienic and safety levels will result in a worsening situation”, Dr. Senaratne continued.

The solution here is not to lower standards, but to import high value canned fish rather than depend on cheap products containing toxic substances, she stressed. “We cannot feed poison to the people”.

The non-availability of canned fish has dealt a blow to the average family as it’s considered a low cost source of protein, industry officials said.

While Lanka Sathosa outlets and most supermarkets said the commodity was “out of stock”, a few traders who had the products were selling a 425 gram can at anything between Rs. 340 and 370 each.

“We are expecting a big stock of canned fish from Chile within the next few weeks”, Dr. Senaratne added.

With the appointment of Chairman Dr. Nushad Perera, a former senior executive in the dynamic private sector, the SLSI has seen a positive turnaround with diverse initiatives being implemented to safeguard the interests of consumers.

 

 



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

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

News

Appointment of GM led to CEB chief’s resignation?

Published

on

By Ifham Nizam

Amidst further deterioration of the power crisis, the Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) M.M.C. Ferdinando has tendered his resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

In a letter to the President, the Attorney-at-Law said that he is quitting due to personal reasons. Ferdinando will resign as Chairman/Member of the Electricity Board with effect from Feb. 1.

Sources close to Ferdinando said that the incumbent CEB Chairman did not want to be in that position following the appointment of Eng. Dr. D.C.R. Abeysekera as CEB General Manager. Abeysekera received his letter of appointment from Ferdinando on Tuesday (25).

Abeysekera received the appointment at the expense of Dr. Susantha Perera, whose designation as the GM on a temporary basis was resisted by the engineers’ union as he is a retiree.

Retired public servant Ferdinando was brought in as the CEB Chairman on July 19, last year soon after Sri Lanka entered into what was called a framework agreement with the US energy firm, New Fortress Energy. The agreement now challenged in the Supreme Court was finalised on 17 Sept, last year with Ferdinando endorsing it as an Advisor to the Finance Ministry.

Continue Reading

News

UK indicates sanctions against Lanka military

Published

on

By Shamindra Ferdinnado

Close on the heels of UK Foreign Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad’s three-day visit here, the House of Commons has been told that measures were being contemplated as regards the Sri Lankan military.

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Minister Amanda Milling has told Parliament that the government regularly engaged with the US and other partners on issues relating to Sri Lanka. She has further said: “The UK government keeps all evidence and potential designations under the UK Global Human Rights sanctions regime under close review, guided by the objectives of the sanctions regime. We would not normally speculate about future sanctions targets, as to do so could reduce their impact.”

The Conservative Party member was responding to Labour Party’s Siobhain McDonagh on Tuesday (25). MP Milling was responding to a query McDonagh posed to the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Elizabeth Truss, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the sanctions imposed by the US on General Shavendra Silva of the Sri Lankan army.

The US in Feb 2020 imposed a travel ban on General Silva, who is also the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Recently, the US extended its action against the Sri Lankan military by issuing travel ban on retired Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera.

The UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has commended the British stand.

Concerned Lankan military sources said that the UK in its capacity as the leader of Sri Lanka Core Group at the Geneva-based Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was planning further measures ahead of the next human rights sessions.

UK based sources told The Island that that type of written parliamentary question was usually answered by a government minister from the FCDO.

Sources explained as this particular question dealt with Sri Lanka, the minister responsible was Lord Tariq Ahmad, but as he represented the House of Lords he couldn’t make statements in the Commons chamber.

Sources added that it would be rare that a question on Sri Lanka would be directly responded to by the Foreign Secretary Truss

Commons member Amanda Milling is Minister of State for Asia, therefore her portfolio closely matches Tariq Ahmad’s brief.

Incidentally, the FCDO now has a British Tamil in a senior position. Maya Sivagnanam is South Asia Deputy Director for the Indian Ocean Region at the FCDO.

Continue Reading

News

JCPSM token strike cripples hospitals in Western Province

Published

on

Strikers want Health Ministry to solve their problems within 10 days

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Joint Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (JCPSM) launched a 24-hour token strike yesterday (26) at 7 am at all hospitals in the Western Province. It consists of 16 unions.

The JCPSM has urged the government to address its members’s grievances including salary anomalies and issues related promotions. The strike had crippled hospitals in the province, Health Ministry sources said.

The JCPSM said emergency care, essential services and the treatment of COVID patients had not been affected by the strike.

President of the Government Nurses’ Association and former UNP National List MP Saman Rathnapriya said they had been urging the government to solve their problems for the past two months.

The College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President, Ravi Kumudesh told The Island that they would end the token strike by 7 am today m(27) and thereafter give the government 10 days to address their demands.

“We will launch a continuous strike if the demands are not met within 10 days,” he said.

President of the Government Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) Dr. Rukshan Bellana said that most unions seemed to have lost the ability to solve disputes through negotiations.

“The unions have become too politicised, and the people are suffering as a result.”

Continue Reading

Trending