Sri Lankan court bars sale of Fonterra milk products for two weeks

COLOMBO Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:00pm BST

1 of 2. An advertisement for Fonterra's Anchor powder brand is seen at a shop as a customer walks by in Colombo August 15, 2013, a day before the announcement on the ban of advertising for Fonterra milk products.

Credit: Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte

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COLOMBO (Reuters) - A Sri Lankan court on Friday issued an order preventing the sale, distribution and advertising of all Fonterra milk products for two weeks, officials said, after a health sector trade union sought the order saying Fonterra had been misleading the public with its advertising.

The National Health Services Union said it sought the order because there were Fonterra milk products still in the market suspected to be contaminated with dicyandiamide (DCD) despite an order from the health ministry that they be recalled. DCD is a nitrate inhibitor used in fertilisers.

"An enjoining order was issued preventing Fonterra...from (wholesaling), selling and distributing and or selling for agents of all brands of Fonterra products for a period of two weeks," Upul Jayasuriya, who appeared on behalf of National Health Services (Trade) Union, told Reuters. The court had also barred advertising by Fonterra's milk products, Jayasuriya said.

An official from Fonterra Brand Sri Lanka declined to comment on the court order, saying they had not received the order yet.

The Health Ministry had said a recent local test by Sri Lanka's Industrial Technology Institute discovered DCD in some Fonterra brand milk powders and had directed the world's largest dairy exporter to recall the products.

Fonterra has disputed the accuracy of the local testing, but on Thursday, Leon Clement, managing director of Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka, told Reuters that the company has recalled two batches of Anchor-branded product as the result of the directive from the Ministry of Health and the recall has now been completed.

(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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