Palm oil contaminated with a carcinogenic dye, the EU is on red alert

In palm oil coming from Ghana via the Netherlands health officers found an illegal carcinogenic and genotoxic dye called Sudan IV.

About a month ago, in October, Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority has called on consumers not to use palm oil, after identifying a carcinogenic dye known as Sudan IV in 98% of the 50 product samples tested in Ghanaian capital Accra. After that a batch of contaminated palm oil without label from Ghana was taken off the market in the UK in April and then recalled in July, Ghanaian authorities acknowledged that the supplier Miva Lifeline Limited hadn’t requested authorisation to export the product to the EU, where Sudan IV is illegal.


palm oil

In France, the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, RASFF, found a batch of palm oil contaminated with Sudan IV coming from Ghana via the Netherlands on 30 October 2015. Promptly, Fatto Alimentare reported to the Italian Ministry of Health that there are different brands of palm oil coming from Ghana that can be purchased online on Italian websites, requesting the suspension of imports as a precaution.



It is assumed that the carcinogenic substance, used to dye shoe polish, waxes and solvents red, is added to palm oil to make it look rough, so less processed and richer in healthy antioxidants.

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