VILNIUS - Dairy producer Marijampoles Pieno Konservai (Marijampole Canned Milk) has said it suspects its competitors spread spurious reports that the Greek military recalled 97 tons of spoiled milk produced by the Lithuanian firm.
"We exported around 900 tons of canned milk to Greece under a contract with Milkin, a local company, slightly more than a year ago. So far, we haven't received any complaints over the quality of the milk," said company CEO Vidas Dumalakas.
"It's very likely that this is pressure from our competitors, because we pushed aside some major international dairy producers when we entered the Greek market," he added.
Dumalakas was commenting on a report by the UPI news agency that the Greek military had recalled 97 tons of canned milk rations because it was unfit for consumption. An inspection team was reportedly appointed to conduct a chemical examination of the evaporated milk, which carried an expiration date at the end of 2006.
UPI quoted the Kathimerini news service as reporting that 97,270 cans of Milkin imported from Lithuania had solidified, forming a layer of fat across the cans' inner lining.
The agency quoted sources as saying that military officials were trying to ascertain whether any of the milk had been distributed to army barracks.
Marijampoles Pieno Konservai is the only canned milk manufacturer in Lithuania. The company posted sales of 203.1 million litas (59 million euros) for 2005, up 38.1 percent from 147 million litas in 2004.
Eksimeta, a Lithuanian-Russian-Liechtenstein joint venture, purchased the then bankrupt canned milk producer for 16.2 million litas in 2001. Eksimeta's shareholders are the local company Karpis, one Swiss company and Russia's Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works.