Stop on milk sale

WELLINGTON – New Zealand dairy company Fonterra has confirmed Sri Lankan health officials have suspended the sale of some Anchor milk powder amid concerns it has made children sick.

The country’s ministry of health suspended three batches of 400 gram Anchor full cream milk powder after receiving three customer complaints, Dr Sanath Mahawithanage, Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka associate director for scientific and regulatory affairs, said in a statement.

Fonterra said it was working with the officials to lift the hold on the remaining product and was doing additional testing on the three batches related to the customer complaints.

It said its own testing had cleared the product.

According to a Reuters report, several children suffered food poisoning after consuming the product in the southern village of Girandurukotte, 224km from the capital Colombo.

The newswire put the total quantity on hold at 76 metric tonnes.

In August last year, Sri Lanka’s National Health Services Union won a temporary injunction to stop the sale of Fonterra products amid ongoing concerns over the levels of nitrates found in the milk powder.

Fonterra subsequently suspended operations in the country after Sri Lanka’s National Freedom Front, a hardline nationalist political party, protested against the dairy exporter in support of local dairy farmers.