Test results of samples of locally produced instant noodles released by the Industrial Technology Institute revealed that the samples rated well below permissible lead levels, confirming that the products were safe to consume.
However, the report underscores the critical need for Sri Lanka to develop its own regulations on permissible lead levels, since the tests results were compared to Australian standards.
Health Services Director General Dr. Palitha Mahipala who chaired the ad-hoc Food Consultative Committee meeting which was attended by officials from the Consumer Affairs Authority and the Sri Lanka Standards Institute cited that Sri Lanka did not import instant noodles or other raw materials from India or any other country except for Monosodium Glutamate. Monosodium Glutamate is present in the packaging which comes with instant noodles.
He, however, stated that Sri Lanka did not have any permissible or minimum levels of lead stipulated by any authority, ministry or organization. The ITI reports had been compared to stipulated minimum levels of lead in Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. Accordingly, both Malaysia and Singapore regulation states that lead levels should be less than 2.0mg per kilo and the Australian one denotes a stringent 0.3mg per kilo.
It was also decided that tests would be carried out on all ingredients imported to Sri Lanka before being dispatched at Customs and the market. Tests would ascertain if any of the ingredients ranged high for lead, mercury, cadmium and other heavy metals.
Producers and manufactures of noodles in Sri Lanka will also be requested to send samples of their products periodically for tests at accredited labs for further analysis.
At the meeting it was decided that should any samples or batches contain samples that exceed 0.3mg per kilo, district food inspectors would be compelled to remove the relevant stocks from the shelves.