Speaking in the country’s parliament earlier this month, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena urged the public to refrain from consuming powdered milk imported from New Zealand as it could contain the agricultural chemical.
DCD is applied to pasture by farmers to prevent nitrate – a potentially-harmful fertiliser by-product – seeping into rivers and lakes. Concerns about the presence of DCD in Fonterra milk powder first emerged in January 2013, when low levels were discovered in samples.
While DCD has never been considered to be a food safety risk, there is no international standard for it in food.
Commenting on Sri Lankan concerns, Leon Clement, managing director of Fonterra Brands Lanka, reiterated that “all New Zealand dairy products are 100% safe.”
“Speculation and misinformation” in Sri Lanka
“While DCD has never been a food safety issue, there has been a lot of speculation and misinformation about milk powder products in Sri Lanka,” said Clement.
“The Government has indicated that the tests they carried out on imported milk powder in April were inconclusive.”
Clement added that the levels detected in September 2012-manufactured samples were “100 times lower” than the tolerable dairy intake (TDI) guideline limits established by the European Commission (EC).
“At these levels, United Nations data suggest that the table salt sitting in your kitchen is more of a risk to humans than DCD,” he said.
DCD no longer used on NZ farms
Following the discovery of DCD residue in Fonterra milk powder in January, the sale and use of the chemical was suspended in New Zealand.
According to Clement this has not changed - DCD is no longer being used on New Zealand dairy farms.
“While there was never a food safety risk, the New Zealand Government and industry have taken steps to ensure DCD is no longer used on dairy farms in New Zealand,” he said.