MOH certifies 'WFP rice unfit for consumption'
[TamilNet, Friday, 01 November 2002, 22:45 GMT]
Trincomalee Medical Officer of Health (MOH) Friday informed the Multi Purpose Co-operative Society (MPCS) in the east port town to stop the distribution of rice supplied under the World Food Programme (WFP) project as it was found unfit for human consumption. WFP earlier this week denied a TamilNet report of October 8 that rice the UN agency had supplied was spoilt and not fit for distribution to the internally displaced in the district.
Meanwhile, the Trincomalee district TNA parliamentarian Mr.R.Sampanthan, at a conference held at the district secretariat Friday evening, handed a packet of spoilt WFP rice to the Government Agent (GA) and requested him to stop the distribution of the said rice. He further asked the GA to take immediate steps to supply quality rice to the displaced before the Deepavali festival which is celebrated on 3 November.
The Deputy Director of Planning Mr.Puhendran told the meeting that the Trincomalee MPCS would receive ten lorry loads of Australian quality rice (Saturday) replacing the spoilt stock now lying in the MPCS store. Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Refugees Ministryís WFP co-ordinator Mr. W.Senadheera has informed the Government Agent and
MPCS in this regard, Mr.Puhendran stated.
Mr.Sampanthan told the GA that the spoilt rice had been sent to Trincomalee MPCS even after he made representation to the Prime Minister in this regard. He would be taking up this matter with the Minister Dr.Jayalath Jayawardene shortly, Mr.Sampanthan said.
The Medical Officer of Health in the letter to the Trincomalee MPCS dated 31st October, 2002 states:
"This is to bring to your kind notice that today I have inspected the rice stored at the MPCS, Trincomalee premises along with the Urban Council Public Health Inspector Mr.V. Muralitharan. During my inspection I found that the rice distributed to MPCS branches under the WFP programme is infected with insects and worms.
"As per Food Act No: 26 of 1980 Section 1.2(c) it is found that, this consignment is unfit for human consumption. Therefore under the Food Act No: 26 of 1980 Section 14 (10) you are herewith kindly requested to stop distribution of rice (batch No 110003/2002 under the WFP programme). Action will be taken immediately as per above Act. Further report will follow."
Copies of this letter were sent to the Government Agent, Trincomalee, the Deputy Director of Health Services and the Public Health Inspector, Trincomalee Urban Council.
Following the MOH letter, the General Manager of the Trincomalee MPCS Mr.T.Balagengatharan sent an urgent letter to the Ministry of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Refugees Friday requesting the Ministry to make arrangements to remove the infected 100 metric tones of rice and to send them new stock.
Trinco MP Mr.Sampanthan handing over a packet of spoilt rice to the Government Agent Mr.Nelumdeniya.
28.10.02 WFP denies report as more spoilt rice arrives
08.10.02 Jayawardene orders MPCS to distribute spoilt rice