Mar 28, Colombo: Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekara assured that coconut oil containing carcinogens has not been released to the market. He said that all stocks of coconut oil imported into the country have been sealed.
Meanwhile, a test conducted by the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) has confirmed that unrefined coconut oil containing the carcinogenic aflatoxin, imported by one company, has failed its second quality test.
The quality control analysis carried out by the Sri Lanka Standards Institute has confirmed that the carcinogen aflatoxin in the stock of coconut oil is in excess of the prescribed level.
According to Nushad Perera, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Standards Institute, usually two samples are taken from a consignment of coconut oil and both samples from one company failed the quality test due to the presence of aflatoxin above the maximum allowed level.
Accordingly, the company will have to re-export the stock of coconut oil. The Customs is responsible for re-exporting the consignment, he said.
Reports of the tests conducted on the second samples of coconut oil imported by three other companies are due tomorrow. The first sample test has already confirmed the presence of toxic chemicals in the coconut oil imported by the four companies.
More than 100 samples of coconut oil randomly taken by the Consumer Affairs Authority from various parts of the island are already being tested.
In addition, considering the appeals made by the importing companies the Sri Lanka Standards Institute, the Food Safety Unit of the Ministry of Health and the Institute of Industrial Technology are currently re-testing samples of coconut oil imported by those companies.
The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) said that eight out of 100 samples of coconut oil obtained from the market were handed over to the Coconut Development Board today (28) to find out if they contain carcinogenic aflatoxin.
A senior official of the Consumer Affairs Authority said that the research division of the Coconut Development Board will conduct an investigation and submit a report within a week.
The Consumer Affairs Authority said more coconut oil samples will be obtained from other parts of the country randomly and that several teams of the Authority have been deployed for this purpose.
Speaking to media. Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardena said imported and locally produced coconut oil is not distributed by the government and the Consumer Affairs Authority had already sealed the containers of the imported coconut oil alleged to contain the carcinogen in the harbor. Samples of those coconut oil have been given to the Institute of Industrial Technology for testing, the Minister said.