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Over 3,000 kilos of contaminated dhal seized and destroyed in Weligama

ECONOMYNEXT – Over 3,000kg of dhal (split lentils) containing fungi that can produce the carcinogenic aflatoxin was found in a cooperative shop in Weligama today, a Weligama Public Health Inspector (PHI) said.

The 3,150kg stock was seized following a raid based on a customer tip-off and was subsequently destroyed under the supervision of local PHIs, PHI Union President Upul Rohana told EconomyNext.

Aflatoxin is the same chemical that was allegedly found in six consignments of imported coconut oil that has resulted in much controversy.

The customer had initially tipped the PHIs on expired yoghurt sold at the store, which led to a full scale raid of the cooperative, Weligama PHI M M H Nihal told reporters.

“We have to thank the consumers, because if a complaint was not made, the dhal might have been released for public consumption,” he said.

Aflatoxins are a family of toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops such as maize (corn), peanuts, cottonseed, and tree nuts. The main fungi that produce aflatoxins are Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, which are abundant in warm and humid regions of the world, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Meanwhile Dambulla police has apprehended another container suspected to be carrying coconut oil unusable for human consumption.

The container was taken into custody at the Dambulla Economic Ccentre yesterday while its contents were being unloaded in barrels. Dambulla police is carrying further investigations, PHI union president Rohana said.

Island wide investigation are under way by PHIs to ensure the safety of food products and raw materials used for food products in the lead up to the coming national New Year festivities. (Colombo/Apr02/2021)





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