The Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department’s (GA-FDD) order to recall all Lailac infant milk
products will now be handled by the Police as International Pharmaceutical Agency (IPA) continues to disregard the directive.
This is according to Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton, who in a telephone interview with Guyana Times stood by the decision made by the GA-FDD, noting that since the product does not meet the country’s required standards, then it is an appropriate move to have the Lailac infant milk pulled from the market. He added that since local distributor IPA refuses to do so, then it will become a legal issue where the Police will get involved.
“If the law so says and the product does not abide by the regulations then the Food and Drug Department has a right to pull the product from the market. If they (distributors) continue to defy the order, then it’s a legal matter and when it comes to a legal case, it goes to the Police and a decision will have to be made,” the Public Health Minister said.
Dr Norton further added that he is disappointed that the Analyst-Food and Drug Department has not started to seized the milk from the shelves of retail and wholesale entities.
“It could be that the company brought in the milk some time ago, probably sold it to supermarkets and the supermarkets continue to display it so that they don’t make a loss. What I know that can be done is the Food and Drug Department can literally go and seize these products. I don’t know why they’re not doing it.”
Additionally, he said that an investigation will be launched into why the GA-FDD is inactive with respect to seizing the milk.
The GA-FDD in early February 2016, issued a recall for the Lailac infant milk, however more than six weeks after the recall deadline of March 22, 2016, the product remained on the shelves of numerous retail and wholesale outlets.
The IPA has persistently disregarded the GA-FDD’s instructions contending that LAILAC infant milk is a milk-based baby formula.
The recall by GA-FDD was issued on two grounds – the product’s noncompliance with Food and Drug Regulation (12) of 1977, which prohibits distributing a product in Guyana that is not distributed in its country of origin. GA-FDD Director Marlon Cole was quoted in other sections of the media as saying that LAILAC was not and could not possibly be sold in France as milk.
“Our regulations clearly state that the product must be freely distributed in the country of production. That product is not sold in France. No other Caribbean country has LAILAC milk. It is not milk,” he was quoted as saying.
The other reason for this recall was based on concluding after reading the product’s label which showed that the product is labelled infant milk although in the production process non-specified ‘vegetable oils’ were used to replace milk fat. According to the GA-FDD, in making the product as close as possible to “mother’s milk”, unless specific vegetable oils were added to the cow milk-based substance, when digested by infants, the formula can prove to be dangerous since the fatty acids in the triglycerides produced influence their function negatively.
The IPA has admitted its LAILAC product was not sold in France, the country of origin but only in the Third World countries. The IPA continues to argue that the product is being distributed in France, but under a different brand.