Aug 16, Colombo: A Sri Lankan court today issued an order banning the sale, distribution and advertising of Fonterra's dairy products for two weeks.
Gampaha Additional District Court judge issued the enjoining order after taking up a case filed by a health sector trade union seeking the ban on all dairy products from the New Zealand dairy producer.
The order, effective for 14 days, prevents Fonterra from whole selling all its products, distributing or selling through agents as well as any form of advertising in a misleading manner.
"An enjoining order was issued preventing Fonterra ... from whole selling, selling and distributing and or selling for agents of all brands of Fonterra products for a period of two weeks," lawyer Upul Jayasuriya, who appeared on behalf of National Health Services (Trade) Union, told Reuters.
The National Health Services Trade Union Alliance said yesterday it has sought a court order against Fonterra since the dairy manufacturer does not accept what Sri Lankan authorities claim on the issue of contamination of its products with a toxic agrochemical dicyandiamide and recently with a botulism causing bacteria.
Chairman of the Union, Saman Rathnapriya said although the Health Ministry has banned the release of Fonterra dairy products from the port and recalled the stocks form stores, some supermarkets are still selling their contaminated stocks.
Sri Lanka's Health Ministry last week banned the sales of 39 metric tons of Fonterra's milk powder in two batches after tests conducted within the country by the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) found traces of DCD in the batches tested.
Rathnapriya accused Fonterra of continuing to mislead the public by questioning the test results and claiming that their product is 100 percent healthy despite the ban imposed by the Health Ministry.
"Despite an interim order preventing Fonterra from advertising any of its products as 100 percent perfect, we see that they continue to do so through print and electronic media and they have even gone so far as to issue hand bills through shop," the union leader said at a press briefing.
The Health Ministry has warned that legal action will be taken against errant traders who try to sell Fonterra milk powder belonging to the two batches - Anchor One Plus (Batch no.107610163) and Anchor Full Cream Milk Powder (batch no.0605C0883) - found to contain DCD.
Sri Lanka cabinet yesterday appointed a sub-committee to examine the contamination issue and make its recommendations for future measures. The sub-committee is expected to submit its report to the next cabinet meeting in two weeks.
Cabinet Spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday said the government may consider legal actions if Fonterra is found to have distributed milk containing the toxic agrochemical.