The Drug Law Enforcement Unit (DLEU) of the Ghana Police Service will, in the ensuing days, put before court the 22 traders arrested in connection with large quantities of adulterated palm oil confiscated by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) over the weekend.
Already, officials of the FDA have been invited to submit a written statement to the police on the laboratory analysis on the products which have so far tested positive for 98 per cent of active Sudan III and Sudan IV, also known as ‘sudee’, a potential cancer-causing chemical.
The FDA, in collaboration with the police, confiscated the adulterated palm oil from the Mallam Atta, Dome, Dansoman, Agbogbloshie and Kaneshie markets, all in Accra.
A number of containers of the product were also seized from the Madina, Makola No 2, Tema Community One and Ashaiman markets.
Officials say the ‘sudee’ dye, which is not listed among the colours in food production, is also prohibited under Ghana’s Public Health Safety laws.
According to the Commander in charge of the DLEU, Deputy Superintendent of Police Mr David Selorm Hukportie, preliminary investigations revealed that the adulteration of the products was done at the insistence of the traders.
“Our investigations have so far established a well-organised plan by the traders and processors of the commodity to ensure it is mixed with the ‘sudee’ dye to make the product more appealing in colour,” he told the Daily Graphic in Accra.
The culprits, he said, would be charged under the Public Health Act 851 of 2012 which prohibits adulteration of food items for retailing, since the act had the potential of endangering public health and safety.
“We are treating this as an organised crime, since our investigations so far showed that there were many players involved in all processes of adulterating the product,” he stressed.