PALM OIL is one of the products that is being produced in Nigeria and exported to other countries. Nigeria was known as a country that exports natural red oil. Today, most of the palm oil sold in Nigerian markets is adulterated. According to research, most traders dealing in palm oil or even the producers, in order to make more profit mix red oil with colours and other substances that gives it a different taste and odour. As a matter of fact, a good number of palm oil users have complained about the quality of some of the product.
Research has shown that palm oil has gone out of from what it used to be; full of different mixtures and tastes but still looks reddish.
In an interview, a retailer of palm oil who sells in bottles at Eke-Awka, said it was possible that most of the product are adulterated but claimed it is caused by the processors, producers, distributors and some retailers of oil and so on. She explained that she buys palm oil at Ugwuoba and that she always taste the oil before she buys.
According to Mr Ifeanyi, there is high rise of adulterated red oil in Nigerian markets and is most evident in Lagos markets, especially in Oshodi and Mushin markets.
He said that by deep research and observation, the market women mix the contents with coloring and add special liquid which they refused to disclose its name to increase quantity. “This is very dangerous to human consumption. The fact that most Lagosians turn blind eyes to this due to the unavailability of alternatives to the product is worrisome”.
He advised that the measures to curtail these could arise from public and private partnership to checkmate the source of palm oil from the point of production to the final place of sales and distribution. “Also, setting up of manufacturing industries to refine the oil to standard will ease the pain of manual-production.”
At an oil mill in Ufuma, Orumba North LGA, the manager of the mill who preferred anonymity said that he didn’t have time for production of adulterated palm oil. “We are always busy trying to meet up people’s demands, but these distributors that buy in large quantities buy to store, waiting for the period of scarcity. The oil congils because it stays for months and years and they rely on chemicals that will make it reddish”.
Director of produce, Ministry of Agriculture, Anambra State, Dr Uzoamaka Emeagwali, explained that “palm oil is a major vegetable oil that is used in many soups and meals especially in West African Countries. With sudden rise in cases of cancer, organs damages and heart diseases with no specific cause, it has become very important for Nigeria to pay particular attention on the quality of palm oil to be used in their homes. Some people in their quest to make more money have colluded with producers and marketers of this oil to add some inedible substances or chemicals that could make palm oil appear like the unadulterated one”.
According to her, “production of this oil has made it practically impossible to physically differentiate between a good palm oil and fake. Many consumers look for redness before buying palm oil. The marketers and producers having this at the back of their minds, now use a chemical called solvent red 24 (used in coloring plastics) as an additive to improve the redness and make the oil to appear like properly made palm oil. Anatol Dye is also used to achieve redness; Azo Dye is also used to adulterate palm oil. Azo Dye is used in dying cloth and is not to be consumed because it is highly carcinogenic, which means it causes cancer. It is a major colorant used. These Azo dye chemical used on palm oil are formulated using colorful and often toxic metal which could cause bioaccumulation in the body and damage its physiology
“ As a ministry, we have made certain efforts by calling a meeting of producers and marketers of palm oil to see how to eliminate this wicked act. Secondly, we are going to carryout sensitization in the whole markets in Anambra”.