The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court yesterday cleared the way for Akij Food and Beverage Ltd (Farm Fresh Milk) and Pran Dairy Ltd (Pran Milk) to produce, distribute and sell their pasteurised milk.
Justice Md Nuruzzaman, chamber judge of the Appellate Division, stayed for five weeks the parts of a High Court order that directed the two companies to stop producing, distributing and selling pasteurised milk.
The chamber judge passed the order after hearing two separate petitions filed by the companies seeking stay on those parts of the HC order.
The apex court also asked the two companies to file separate leave to appeal petitions with this court challenging the HC order in five weeks.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, who appeared for the two companies as an individual lawyer, told The Daily Star that the SC chamber judges passed the stay order on the ground that the presence of lead and antibiotics in the pasteurised milk of the two companies did not exceed the danger level.
Following the SC order, there is no legal bar for the two companies to go forward with the production and distribution of their pasteurised milk, he said.
The attorney general informed that other 11 companies, who also received the same order from the HC, will move separate petitions before the SC for stay orders on the HC directive.
Earlier on Monday, the SC’s chamber judge cleared the way for Bangladesh Milk Producers Cooperative Union Limited (Milk Vita) to produce, distribute and sell pasteurised milk.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday expressed her concern over the HC directive banning the production, distribution, sale and consumption of 14 milk companies.
She said all of a sudden a professor -- after conducting a test -- declared milk of these companies unfit for consumption, and a writ was filed based on his findings which resulted in a temporary ban.
The PM came up with remarks while addressing a meeting of AL leaders and activists through teleconference from London.
Hasina also said it should be investigated whether this was a ploy of the milk importers and whether they were encouraging anyone to this end.
Earlier on Sunday, the HC bench issued the ban after examining three laboratory test reports, which found that the milk of these companies contains antibiotics -- Oxytetracycline, Tetracycline and Ciprofloxacin -- as well as lead, a harmful heavy metal.
The 14 companies are Aftab Milk and Milk Products Ltd (Aftab), Akij Food and Beverage Ltd (Farm Fresh Milk), American Dairy Limited (MOO), Bangladesh Milk Producers Cooperative Limited (Milk Vita), Baro Awlia Dairy Milk and Foods Ltd (Dairy Fresh), Brac Dairy and Food Project (Aarong Dairy), Danish Dairy Farm Ltd (Ayran), Ichhamoti Dairy and Food Products (PURA), Igloo Dairy Limited (Igloo), Pran Dairy Ltd (Pran Milk), Uttar Bango Dairy (Ultra), Purbo Bangla Dairy Food Industries (Arwa) and Tania Dairy and Food Products (Safe).
The BSTI tested the milk of these companies at the laboratories of Institute of Public Health (IPH), Bangladesh Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) and Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) in line with the July 14 order by the HC.