FDA Steps Up Surveillance On Palm Oil

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has stepped up its surveillance on the sale of palm oils nation-wide, after it warned the public of the sale of palm oil adulterated with Sudan IV (Sudee) dye on the market.

The Head of Communications, Mr James Lartey, said officials of the authority had extended the exercise of sampling palm oils to all markets nation-wide.

The FDA is undertaking the exercise in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service.
Mr Lartey disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday in response to queries by think-tank, IMANI after the FDA issued its caution.

The FDA on October 21, 2015 issued a press statement cautioning the public on the adulterated palm oil sold in 10 markets in the Greater Accra Region.

The markets are the Mallam, Mallam Atta, Dome, Dansoman, Agbogbloshie, Kaneshie, Tema Community 1, Ashiaman, Madina and Makola No 2.

Analysis of 50 randomly sampled palm oils in the market found that they contained Sudan III and IV dyes, the statement signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Mr Huddu Mogtari said.

“It is important to note that Sudan IV dye has potentially carcinogenic effects (category 2), according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Category 2 carcinogenic substances had no tolerable daily intake value. Thus, no level of the consumption of the dye can be said to be safe,” the statement added.

Subsequently, in collaboration with the Narcotics Division of the Ghana Police Service, the FDA arrested dealers suspected to be involved and confiscated products which were also analysed and found to contain the dyes.

The statement said that led to the arrest of 22 market women and a driver.

The FDA, therefore, assured all that it would collaborate with the police to clamp down on perpetrators across the country and cautioned all processors, wholesalers, distributors and retailers of palm oil that adulteration was prohibited by Section 100 of the Public Health Act 2012.

However, the CEO of the IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, Mr Franklin Cudjoe, in a letter queried the manner in which the FDA had issued its statement and described it as “sweeping and panicky.”

IMANI maintained that if the sources of the adulterated palm oils had not been found, the FDA should not have made public its surveillance as that could potentially harm companies engaged in the production of genuine palm oil.

Mr Lartey, in response, said the press release of the FDA made no sweeping statements about their findings nation-wide, but only in 10 markets in the Greater Accra Region.

He said the FDA undertook surveillance and monitoring exercises regularly.

However, not all its activities were brought to the attention of the public, except in the case of the palm oil, where a caution had to be issued because of the carcinogenic effects of the dyes when consumed.