Milco Private Limited stated it has initiated a disciplinary inquiry against the plant operator at its Gallella factory in Polonnaruwa over the contamination of 6000 liters of milk.

Speaking to The Nation, Milco General Manager Sudath Munasinghe said the contamination had occurred after a caustic soda solution used as a cleaning agent had been mistakenly released into a tank containing the milk. “The solution is used to clean the empty storage tanks. However, it had been mistakenly released into a tank where milk was stored, resulting in the contamination,” Munasinghe said.

When queried whether the contamination did not point to a lack of proper safeguards at the plant, Munasinghe said the internal inquiry that has been initiated would look into whether proper procedures had been ignored in this instant.

However, he rejected allegations that similar incidents had occurred in the past due to negligence on the part of company management. “In this incident, there are allegations that the plant operator’s irresponsible actions had resulted in the contamination. The investigation would determine whether this was so”.

There had been estimates that the company has suffered a loss of some Rs.1 million as a result of having to throw out the contaminated milk. When queried, the general manger said he was unable to estimate the extent of the loss. However, he said they would take measures to reclaim the damages from the plant operator who is responsible if found guilty.