The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has cautioned market women and men across the country to stop mixing Azo Dye popularly known as Sudan Dye with red oil to make it more reddish and attractive.
Azo dye is a chemical used in dying textile materials.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Christianah Adeyeye, who gave the warning at a sensitization campaign in Anambra state described the action as wicked and inhuman, noting that the substance is deadly as it causes gradual deterioration human health.
Sudan dyes or Azo dyes are synthetic organic compounds that are used as dyes for various plastics and are also used to stain sudanophilic biological samples, usually lipids.
Azo dye is considered an illegal dye, mainly because of its harmful effect over a long period of time, as it causes cancer.
Represented by the agency’s Director of Chemical Evaluation and Research, Pharm (Mrs) Ngozi Onuorah , the NAFDAC Director General said: “We have discovered the sharp practices where sellers of red palm oil now put Azo dye to make it very reddish for it to look very glittery and tantalizing so that unsuspecting consumers can easily buy them.
While calling on members of the public to be vigilant, Prof. Adeyeye said: “When you see red oil is very tantalizing and too reddish, you should begin to have some level of suspicion on it.”
She, however, called on marketers and dealers of palm oil and even farmers to be very vigilant and that anybody they discover using such chemicals on red oil should be reported to the security agencies.
“We are giving considerable attention to the markets because there are a lot of activities going on there. Some are based on ignorance while some are deliberate because they went cut corners and make gain.
“The renewed campaign of NAFDAC is going from market to market because a lot of atrocities, sharp practices are going in some of our local markets both in the cities and the rural areas.
“The emphasis has been on processed foods but there is a paradigm shift in our campaign to focus on row foods that enter our markets.”