Contaminants were benzoic and sorbic acids, not narcotics
The National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) has ruled out all
traces of narcotics in the 30 odd samples of Cola pray, Cola jelly and
sweets, believed to have caused abnormal behaviour among school
children, but says they contained at least two low grade preservatives
commonly used in the food industry - Benzoic acid and Sorbic acid.
After testing all the different brands of samples sent to us for
controlled drugs, we didn't find any narcotic or psychotropic drugs
which come under the Poison, Opium and Dangerous drugs Ordinance. They
were also tested under the Convention Against Illicit Traffic of
Narcotics Drugs and Psychotic Drugs Act No 1 of 2008. The results were
the same. No narcotics, only Benzoic Acid and Sorbic Acid, Assistant
Director Lab Services, NDDB, Pavasara Weerasinghe said.
The absence of narcotics however does not make these illegal drugs
safe for children to consume them, as we still don't know the levels to
which they have been used since testing these levels does not come under
our authority. There should be a separate quality assurance lab for
food, just the way there is one for drugs she stressed. Director,
Environment, Occupational Health and Food, Dr T. B Jayalal said, under
the Food Act there were regulations relating to the use of sorbic and
benzoic. Once the results of the samples sent from the NDDCB) arrive, we
will take appropriate action against the offenders immediately, he said.