30% of palm oil on Ghanaian markets contaminated with Sudan IV dye – FDA

About 30 percent of palm oils found on the Ghanaian market have been contaminated by Sudan IV dye, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has announced.

This came to light when the FDA conducted routine market surveillance activities on food safety in 2021. The results indicated about 30% of palm oils found on the Ghanaian Market had failed the Authority’s nationwide Zero Sudan IV dye test, an increase from 7.3% in 2018.

In October last year, the Authority sampled palm oils from major markets across the country including 10 major markets in Greater Accra to test for the presence of Sudan IV dye leading to several arrests. The Laboratory analysis indicated that, out of the 306 samples analyzed, 70 representing failed the test for Sudan IV dye.

Except for the Upper West Region, all the regions had one or more samples from their markets testing positive for the presence of Sudan IV dye with Greater Accra recording the highest failure rate (60.8%).

Dome and the Mallam Attah Markets in the Greater Accra Region had 100% failure for their samples analyzed.

About Sudan IV Dye

Sudan IV dye is a chemical used in the production of textiles, leather, plastics, papers, hair, mineral oils, waxes, and cosmetics and not to be ingested. The toxicity and illegal use of Sudan IV as food additives are strongly banned by the Food and Drugs Authority and other international bodies in the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius.

Despite the enormous public education and sensitization activities on the health implications of adding Sudan IV dye in foods especially palm oils, such as hyperactivity in children, severe allergies, hives, migraine, and diseases such as cancer.

Producers and Ghanaian traders continue to use this chemical as an enhancer in palm oil due to consumers’ preference and demand for “redness” in their palm oil products.

FDA’s Action

The FDA said in a statement that it has initiated “a rigorous public education campaign in major markets like Mallam Atta Market, Dome Market in Accra as well as other Satellite Markets across the country.”

The FDA also stated that “As part of this campaign, more samples are continuously being sampled across the markets and traders whose palm oil products fail the test will be made to face the full rigors of the law.”

Additionally, the FDA said it is in the process of introducing a traceability system for Agro Products in the country which would help in enhancing food safety issues as far as Agro products are concerned and safeguard the health and safety of the consuming public.



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