Some traders from Kade in the Eastern Region have voluntarily presented quantities of palm oil to the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to be tested for adulteration.
Last Friday, five trucks loaded with barrels of palm oil meant for distribution at the Dome, Kaneshie, Kasoa, Agbogbloshie and Achimota Brewery markets were led to the FDA premises by the Chairman of the Kade Palm Oil Drivers Union, Mr Alex Danso, and some of his executive members, for the palm oil to be tested.
According to Mr Danso, the move had become necessary since the transporters are alleged to have played a role in the adulteration of the products with Sudan III and Sudan IV dyes, industrial dyes used in the manufacture of plastics and other synthetic products.
The voluntary testing was also to prevent the situation where some producers and distributors denied contracting the drivers to transport the products to the distribution centres on their behalf.
“We have come to realise that producers and distributors often leave transporters in a ditch when they are arrested and made to face prosecution,” Mr Danso said.
The Sudan dye, said to have carcinogenic effects when added to food, is said to have been mixed with the palm oil to enhance its colour to make it more appealing to consumers.
Mr Danso told the Daily Graphic in Accra that not only had the scandal impacted negatively on their transportation business, but that some of their members were in the grip of the police.
“We are just carriers working to make ends meet and have no knowledge of what the said dye even looks like.
“It is very worrying when you ferry the product for delivery in Accra only to be arrested and put behind bars as having played a role in the adulteration process when we had no idea that the products had been laced with a chemical that has the potential to kill”, he said.
Mr Danso stressed that the union had learnt bitter lessons from the arrest and detention of some its members and had, therefore, issued a stern warning to producers of palm oil in the region that the union would not transport the products for them if the adulteration persisted.
He called on the FDA and the police to extend their joint operation to parts of the Volta, Central, Brong Ahafo and Western regions from where large volumes of the palm oil were transported to bigger markets such as Mallam Atta and Makola.
While calling on the FDA to extend its sensitisation programme on the Public Health Act and the danger food adulteration posed to the consuming public, Mr Danso assured the public that the Kade Association would co-operate with officials on any road map designed to discontinue the distribution of adulterated palm oil.
Source: Daily Graphic
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