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The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) after a series of interventions, has declared palm oil safe for consumption but advised consumers to patronize only from sellers with accredited badges from the Authority.
The FDA, in collaboration with Women in Agricultural Development Directorate, market queens and the Ghana Oil Palm Producers’ Association, educated palm oil producers, transporters and sellers on the health risk and criminal nature of the use of Sudan IV dyes, after the seizure of drums of adulterated palm oil containing Sudan IV dye.
Briefing the media in Accra, John Odame Darkwa, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of FDA in-charge of Food, said over 500 palm oil sellers from Agbogbloshie, Ordorna, Madina and Makola markets had been registered and provided with tags to identify them.
He said the tags bear the name and picture of the seller, serial number and the market he or she is selling from.
This information, together with the supplier or distributor and national identification number of the seller, have been captured in a database to help facilitate traceability of any adulterated palm oil found on the market.
“Each seller is therefore to wear the tag as an indication of self-compliance in the sale of non-adulterated palm oil. The registration is on-going and will be extended to the other regions next year,” he added.
Mr John Odame Darkwa urged buyers to patronize palm oil from sellers who display these tags during the Christmas season with confidence and assured Ghanaians of their safety and good health.
The FDA in October this year confiscated large quantities of adulterated palm oil from 10 major markets in Accra and Tema.
The products, which were being sold at the Mallam Atta, Dome, Dansoman, Agbogbloshie and Kaneshie markets – all in Accra – were said to have been adulterated with Sudan IV, an industrial dye used in the colouration of plastics and other synthetic products to enhance their red colour and make it more appealing to consumers.
Large quantities of the oil were also seized at the Madina, Makola No 2, Tema Community One and Ashaiman markets.
Laboratory analyses conducted on samples of the adulterated oil showed active dye popularly known as sudee substance of about 98 per cent – a carcinogenic agent when mixed with food.
Mr Odame Darkwa said that the Public Health Act 851 of 2012, Section 12 prohibits the adulteration of food items and that a person who sells such adulterated food, or uses such a chemical in a food item commits an offence under the Act.
He cautioned processors, wholesalers, distributors and retailers that adulteration is a prohibited act, as spelt out in Section 100 of the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851), and would implement the Act to the letter.
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