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Substandard coconut oil containing carcinogenic aflatoxins: Customs conducts islandwide sample tests

Samples are being tested in all 25 Districts to find out if coconut oil containing toxic chemicals have been distributed to and within the local market, along with the release of crude coconut oil, which had been kept in the warehouses for re-export as per Customs orders, since there is suspicion as to whether any wrongdoing had taken place, Sri Lanka Customs announced yesterday (31).

“It takes time to investigate the crude oil in the warehouses since they are in bags, but we will take an effort to conclude the investigation soon, he noted, adding that they are prepared to take necessary action. I think that it would be easier if we can test them before they are brought into the country. Maybe, inside of the ship, if they come in bulk, this can be achieved,” Customs Director General, Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Vijitha Ravipriya told a media briefing.

When the first sample of coconut oil, which is said to contain carcinogens, was inspected on 4 March, it was confirmed that the oil was unfit for consumption, as informed by the Sri Lanka Standards Institution.

Meanwhile, the two bowsers of substandard coconut oil allegedly containing carcinogenic aflatoxins seized by the Police in the Divulapitiya area were handed over to the Customs by the Dankotuwa Police yesterday (31), The Morning learnt.

Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Vijitha Ravipriya said that the two bowsers containing 55,000 litres of substandard coconut oil belonged to Edirisinghe Edible Oil (Pvt.) Ltd., which is one of the companies said to have imported substandard coconut oil.

“We received them in the afternoon under special protection from the Police. We are recording statements in this regard. After recording the statements, we hope to open the two bowsers. The authorities have instructed the Ali Brothers (Pvt.) Ltd., the Edirisinghe Edible Oil (Pvt.) Ltd., and the Katana Refineries (Pvt.) Ltd., to re-export 13 consignments of coconut oil that were found to contain cancer causing elements harmful for human consumption,” Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Ravipriya added.