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Health Alert! Millipedes In Our Palm Oil   
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A market survey conducted by postgraduate students of the Department of Food Science and Technology of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in four major markets in the country has revealed a mass adulteration of most semi-processed foods.

According to the survey, some women who sell palm oil in these markets admitted to soaking millipedes overnight in the oil.

They say the insects secrete liquids that give a sweet taste and add colour to the oil.
Presenting the finding of the survey at the First National Conference on Food Fraud in Kumasi, the leader of the team, John-Louis Zaukuu, said most of the women who spoke to the team admitted to adding these items to the products to make them appealing to the consumers.

Although the team was yet to know the health implication of these items on humans, he said the secretion produced by the millipedes had been found to cause allergies in humans.

According to him, most of the food items surveyed did not contain what they promised and as such, constituted food fraud.

The survey, which was carried out at the Kumasi central market, one of the largest markets in the sub-region, Ayigya market in the Ashanti Region, Tamale and Techiman markets in the Northern and Brong Ahafo regions, respectively, also discovered that products such as powdered pepper, groundnut paste, fish powder, powdered tomato have been laced with items such as milled kola nuts, konkonte (cassava flour), avocado seeds, corn chaff and millipedes.

Surprisingly, according to the survey, the powdered tomato contained no tomato at all but a local plant known as Ntoose-aba and food colour.

Most of the market women also admitted to adding cassava flour, salt and oil to the groundnut paste to increase the quantity and maximise profit, thereby committing food fraud.

For instance, he said during the survey, the team found out that most of the powdered fish on the market contained corn chaff, condiment (Maggi cube) and immature fish.

He said the practice was very pervasive and urged the regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ghana Standard Authority and all other stakeholders to ensure that the food items sold on the markets contained or were exactly what they promised in order to safeguard the health of the citizenry.
Source: Daily Graphic

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