Some thoughts on Sudan IV dye in palm oil

BY: Wise C. Letsa
Unsafe food is just not healthy no matter how rich it may be in nutrients

I’m sure like me, many of you will never buy palm oil from the open market for some time to come.  This is because of the common knowledge that the cancer causing dye is being used to make the oil look red enough for consumers.

This is wickedness to the highest level and those behind these acts have to be made to face the law. It will be in the interest of us all if proper investigations are made to get to the root of this canker.


Palm oil is used in almost all households in Ghana. Those living abroad also carry palm oil along to wherever they live. Thus too many people have been exposed to cancer through no fault of theirs.

As to why things like this can happen in our country, I cannot really explain but ask questions. Why do we contaminate oil and sell it to our fellow humans to consume just because we want to make money? This is really bad. Such wickedness must stop.

The quality of food is a very important consideration to make since the health benefit of every food is closely related to its quality. Unsafe food is just not healthy no matter how rich it may be in nutrients. We therefore have to be interested in the quality and safety of our foods.

Is our food really safe?

Is palm oil the only food or food ingredient that is being adulterated dangerously in our country? 

To get the answer to this question, serious work has to be done by our regulatory bodies. But before they get interested, what can we do on our own?

Do we ensure that our farmers use safe farming methods to produce food? To what extent are the use of pesticides and insecticides regulated to ensure that the consumer is eating safe food? What about the water that is used to irrigate some of these foods on the farms?

We see vegetables grown at some places where very dirty water from the gutters and under the bridges is used to irrigate these plants. Who is really concerned about things like this?

How is food stored as they are transported from the farms in the villages to the markets in the big town? In the markets how do the market women store food? Where do they keep the left-over food items to be sold the following day?

 The vegetables, fruits, corn dough, cassava dough, tubers, cereals, fish, meat, eggs among others; how safe are all these food items at the point of sale?

If there are safety concerns, the question is who ensures that safety standards are adhered to?  Are these regulators doing their work?

Protect yourself

You know I have always advised you to eat oil in moderation. Thus just about three table spoonful per meal. If you were adhering to that, you may not have been consuming large amounts of this unfortunate contaminant (Sudan IV).

It is not every okro soup that deserves to be made with palm oil; cook oil free okro soup with green vegetables like gboma and ademe. This is very healthy.

 I believe those who just cannot eat beans without fried ripe plantain are scared because they just may not know the type of oil used in making their delicacy. 

There is the need to put in some measures to protect you from dangerous oils like Sudan IV contaminated palm oil.

First tame your addiction to oil and fried foods. Second, be sure of your source of palm oil; you may want to consider making a trip to Dzodze for original palm oil (dzomi).

The writer of this article is a Dietician at Trust Hospital & Clinics. Grab copies of his book titled: “Diet, Health & Wellness”. For copies; Contact: 0244090262, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also available at Kingdom Books and Stationery Shops at the following locations: Osu, Marina mall, Tema, KNUST campus, UCC Campus.