17 April 2014, Thursday
Today's Zaman

Gov’t dismisses food poisoning charges in free milk controversy

3 May 2012, Thursday /TODAY’S ZAMAN
Speaking to deputies in Parliament on Thursday, Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker stated that not a single student among some 4,000 who were hospitalized after drinking milk provided via the government's free milk program instituted on Wednesday were hospitalized due to contaminated milk.

Eker added that the government would not allow provocations to harm this important project, which aims to improve children's health. He repeatedly mentioned that none of the hospitalized children were sent to the hospital for milk contamination but for having milk allergies or related conditions.

The agriculture minister said the milk provided to 7 million children across the country had been provided by 16 different companies. Furthermore, Health Minister Recep Akdağ told the press on Thursday that samples of the milk given to students on Wednesday were taken to labs to be tested.

The results of the tests are expected to be announced to the public on Friday.

Akdağ added that parents are now being requested to notify officials if their children have any allergies to milk or milk products via a letter schools will be sending home with students. He also said students who have allergies to milk are going to be provided with either yoghurt or ayran, a Turkish yoghurt drink.

Following the hospitalization of hundreds of schoolchildren on Wednesday, schools in the provinces of Diyarbakır, Sivas, Kırıkkale, Adıyaman and Burdur have stopped handing out free milk provided by the government. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced last month that approximately 7 million schoolchildren would be receiving free milk every day at school. “We are implementing a new program to contribute to proper nutrition for students from kindergarten to fifth grade,” he said.

Erdoğan made the announcement during a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) parliamentary meeting. “We will distribute at least 500 milliliters of long-life cartons of milk to 7,063,768 students in kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth grade every day, five days a week, in the classroom,” he said.

Erdoğan, in his announcement, drew attention to the importance of proper nutrition in a child’s development. “A malnourished child will not reach his or her full mental and physical capacity,” he said. The prime minister had also said the distribution of free milk for school children had been previously announced and that pilot studies had already been conducted.

FYI if you have a "milk" allergy, then you also have a "yogurt" allergy. There is no way that this many children could have had the same reaction on the same day. Laws of statistics are against this man's statement, but just like everything else in Turkey, someone will "CYA" and we will never know...
It's all a Zionist/Western plot! We should only drink milk from 'pious' cows blessed by the Sultan!
Drink Beer not Milk
I agree with the comment below. This project is a good project however since they're dealing with many people, it is natural to occur problems along the way. Many people in Turkey don't hear food allergies all the time like here in US. Especially Milk allergy for many people is kind of odd however y...
Tarik South
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest some of the natural sugars in milk and is not an allergy. In yoghurt and ayran these sugars are broken down into simpler sugars by the microorganisms that make yoghurt, so digestion is not a problem, at all. Most adults develop some degree of intolera...
I am glad that the government is distributing free milk to all children. This is an excellent step, and it must not be stopped. As far as milk allergies are concerned, the allergy is usually to lactose, which is present in milk but not in yogurt (or cheese). Hence it makes sense to give yougurt or a...
I wonder if the government thought of providing soya milk or something like that as a replacement. At least for those who has cow milk allergy (perhaps goat milk could be a replacement)
Thankfully. Nobody has died. Because here is Turkey. Everything would be happen here.
My son has a problem with cows milk, so he cannot drink it at all. I dont understand the comment regarding children who cannot drink cows milk being given yoghurt or ayran?!?! İf they cannot not have milk, then Yoghurt and Ayran will also be a problem for them. So that doesnt make sense. So my son w...
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