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SC allows Milk Vita production and marketing for 8 weeks
Milk Vita

SC allows Milk Vita production and marketing for 8 weeks

Dhaka, July 29 – The chamber court of the Appellate Divisionon 0f Bangladesh Supreme Court Monday exempted Milk Vita from the ban on production, distribution and sale of pasteurized milk.The apex court lifted the ban a day after the High Court order that banned the production, distribution, marketing, sale and consumption of pasteurised milk of 14 licensed companies including Milk Vita for five weeks over presence of harmful antibiotics and lead in their products.
The Chamber Judge of Appellate Division yesterday lifted the High Court ban on Milk Vita for eight weeks.
Chamber Judge of the Appellate Division Justice Md Nuruzzaman came up with the stay order following an appeal made by the state-run company Milk Vita seeking stay on the High Court order.
After the apex court order, attorney general Mahbubey Alam told reporters that he moved an appeal on behalf Milk Vita company against the High Court ordered that banned production, distribution and selling of all pasteurized milks of 14-compay. The chamber court stayed the High Court order for eight weeks. But, the apex court order will be applicable only for Milk Vita, he added.
Advocate Mohiuddin Hanif, counsel for Milk Vita company, told reporters that there is no bar for Milk Vita company to produce and sale of their pasteurized milk following the chamber court’s order.
Meanwhile, a High Court bench yesterday ordered authorities concerned to ensure that foreign companies could not take over the domestic dairy market amid the ban on producing and selling of pasteurized milks.
The HC bench comprising Justice Nazrul Islam Talukder and KM Hafizul Alam came up with the order during the hearing on a suo moto rule issued by it earlier over the matter.
The HC bench also fixed October 20 for next hearing on the issue.
During yesterday’s hearing, Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) and Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) submitted compliance reports before it after examining pasteurized milks of 14 companies.
BFSA’s lawyer Barrister Mohammad Faridul Islam placed the compliance report saying that the BSFA has already filed 10 cases with the Pure Food Court in Dhaka against 10 milk producing companies after finding harmful heavy metals in their pasteurised milk while BSTI lawyer Barrister Sarkar MR Hassan told the court that expert opinions are needed to resolve the issue over the adulteration of milk and other foods.
The HC bench said that providing the people with pure and hygienic food including milk and ensuring their sound health is a constitutional duty.
It also said all concerned should remain careful so that foreign powdered milk cannot occupy the local market of milk and dairy products taking any opportunity.
The HC bench said that it does not want the domestic milk producers, dairy farms and companies suffer loss because of the ban, rather, it just wants to keep people away from harmful substances in the milk produced by the 14 companies.
Deputy attorney general AKM Amin Uddin Makin represented the state during the hearing on the matter.
Earlier on Sunday, another HC bench comprising Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir in an order banned the production, distribution, marketing, sale and consumption of pasteurised milk of 14 licensed companies for five weeks over presence of harmful antibiotics and lead in their products.
It also directed the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) and the 14 milk-producing companies to submit a compliance report on August 25.
The banned products are: Milk Vita of state-run Bangladesh Milk Producers’ Co-Operative Union Limited, Pran Milk of Pran Dairy Limited, Aarong of Brac Dairy and Food Project, Farm Fresh of Akij Food and Beverage Limited, Igloo of Igloo Dairy Limited, Aftab Milk and Milk Product Limited, Milk Fresh of Uttar Banga Dairy, Dairy Fresh of Baro Awlia Dairy Milk and Foods Limited., MOO of American Dairy Limited, Ayran of Danish Dairy Limited, Pura of Ichamoti Dairy and Food Products, Ultra of Shelaidah Dairy, Safe of Tania Dairy and Food Products and Arwa of Purbo Bangla Dairy Food Industries.
The HC bench came up with the directives after receiving the lab test reports of the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR), International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research Bangladesh (icddr,b), and the Feed and Food Safety Laboratory of the Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute and Institute of Public Health (IPH).
All the laboratories found harmful antibiotics and heavy metal or lead in the milk samples of the 14 companies that obtained licence from BSTI.
The antibiotics include levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin and azithromycin, which are used mainly to treat bacterial infections in humans, according to the reports.
The HC bench also issued a rule asking the owners of the 14 companies to explain within five weeks why the presence of antibiotics used in feeding cattle and heavy lead in their products should not be declared as illegal and violation of fundamental rights of citizens guaranteed under Articles 15, 18, 31 and 32 of the Constitution.
It also asked them to explain why they should not be directed to take initiative individually or collectively to ratify their products within the stipulated time.
The HC bench fixed August 25 for next hearing over the matter.
Barrister Sarkar MR Hassan represented BSTI, while barrister Anik R Haque stood for the petitioner.
Four laboratories of the four government-run institutions conducted tests on the 14 brands of the pasteurised milk to comply with directive issued on July 14.
On July 14, the HC bench directed BSTI to test the samples of the 14 products by four laboratories after BSTI informed the court that it has no capacity to detect antibiotics, bacteria, including coliform and staphylococci, and detergent in pasteurised milk.
About a month ago, Dhaka University (DU) researchers had found the presence of antibiotics meant for humans, lead and detergent in packaged milk and dairy products of some of the top brands, including Milk Vita, Pran, Aarong, Igloo and Farm Fresh, among others. – Staff Reporter

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