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Thriposha Ltd. to provide ‘aflatoxins’ report

4 months ago

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BY Dinitha Rathnayake    After denying claims that aflatoxins (a family of toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops such as corn/maize) are found in Thriposha (triple nutrients), which is a locally produced supplementary food product that is provided free-of-charge to pregnant and breastfeeding females and children, Sri Lanka Thriposha Ltd. is to send a report regarding aflatoxins in each distribution to the relevant medical officer of health (MOH). Speaking to The Morning, Sri Lanka Thriposha Ltd. Chairman Deepthi Kularathna said that the report would contain accurate measurements on the levels of aflatoxins and could be referred to by anyone that uses the said nutritional supplement. He said, however, that the manufacturing of Thriposha has been halted at the moment due to a shortage of ingredients. He also said that Thriposha has not been provided to children for the past eight months due to a shortage of soya and maize. “Public Health Inspectors’ Union Head Upul Rohana was referring to a document released by the Director of Food and Drug Control of the Health Ministry three months ago, mentioning the aflatoxins range of parts per billion (PPB), which could be referred to ensure safety. Also, we never asked mothers to return Thriposha unless the date of expiration was a recent one.  “We normally find aflatoxins in maize, and last November, we found aflatoxins in the stocks of maize imported from India at levels that exceeded the range considered to be safe. For breastfeeding mothers and pregnant females, the range shouldn’t exceed 30 PPB. For children below three years of age and who are malnourished, the range is one PPB. We do our production under the Director of Food and Drug Control and we never use ingredients that are harmful to consumers.”  According to Kularathna, sometimes, aflatoxins found in maize exceed the range of 80 PPB and in such cases, they destroy them at once without using them for production. Several health unions had however alleged that risky levels of aflatoxins were found in Thriposha. Kularathna said that an investigation is underway against Rohana in relation to his comments on this matter. Meanwhile, Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella, responding in Parliament to allegations made by Rohana, said that there is no threat in Thriposha. Taking up the allegations during the Parliament sessions held on 21 September, Rambukwella said that he would take legal action against the relevant unions. The production of Thriposha was halted in April due to the non-availability of local maize and soya. According to company officials, the cost per packet would also increase due to the current recession. The total stock of maize used for the daily production of Thriposha is around 50 metric tonnes (MT) along with 25 MT of soya, with around 1.6 million packets distributed around the country. Officials said that the daily need for maize requires the cultivation of a land area of 35 acres. In this context, a serious crisis situation arose since Thriposha is a nutritional supplement given free to low-income pregnant females, mothers, and infants.