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Sunday, 19 July 2015

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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.

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