FDA collaborate with scientists to develop rapid test-kit to check food adulteration
The Food and Drugs Authority is collaborating with scientists at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to develop a tool- kit for easy detection of adulterated food.
It comes on the heels of recent revelation on palm oil adulteration with cancer-causing Sudan IV dye.
The new simple-to use technology will enable consumers, retailers and the average Ghanaian to test at the point of purchase to reduce the risk of contracting related diseases.
Regulatory Officer for FDA, John Amoako Mensah says this will address the incidence of food fraud.
Addressing a food conference in Kumasi, Mr. Amoako Mensah explained the technology when developed will facilitate the regulatory operations of the authority.
“The Palm oil is the first for the project because of the high risk involved in the products adulteration. We are looking at other areas of adulteration as well”. He explained.
There are concerns about low level of collaboration between scientists and regulators to address real time market problems in the face of food security.
The research, collaboration between the Food and Drugs Authority, Food and Technology Department at the KNUST and the West Virginia University in the USA, has already commenced in earnest.
Food Scientist, Dr. Faustina Wireko-Menu, believes the time has come for researchers to tailor their work to tackle challenges regulators and traders face.
“A very directed collaboration between universities, research institutions and regulatory bodies like FDA, Ghana standards authority, is very important because they know the realities of the issues because they go to the field they know the problems so they can identify them and bring us the problem”. She emphasized.
Raw palm oil extracts have been collected from small, medium and large scale producers of the product across the country.
The research is currently at the preliminary stages where samples undergoing preliminary testing.
Food and Drugs Authority is working on a permit to allow transport of the samples to partners in West Virginia University for further checks.
Dr. Fracis Alemawor, Food Chemist and Project Coordinator in Ghana say there are considerations to expand the research to other food items on the market.
“Different products have different adulterants so we are working one after the other. Palm oil is first then we move to other products”.He said.