The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) says it will monitor palm oil used for cooking in schools in the Eastern region to ensure its safety for consumption.

This the FDA said forms part of its planned activities.

The Regional Director of the FDA, Samuel Kwakye who said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, (GNA), said although the contamination of palm oil with "sudan 4 dye", a chemical, considered to be a cancer agent, had reduced considerably, there was the need to focus on institutions used palm oil in large quantities.

He said the move had become necessary because of large student population in the Senior High Schools across the region, where palm oil was supplied in large quantities for cooking.

Mr. Kwakye said apart from that, monitoring will also be carried out at all the palm oil production sites and the open markets through testing and analyzing samples to prevent the use of the deadly chemical.

Other activities the FDA planned for the year, according to Mr. Kwakye, include monitoring of sachet water and herbal medicine production sites, adding that those two industries needed to comply with several regulations and laws of the FDA to protect consumers. 

He said the FDA had noted with concern, the influx of herbal medicines, in the open markets and vehicles in the region and Koforidua especially and indicated their readiness to descend on all the illegal productions in that industry.

Mr. Kwakye, explained that because herbal drugs had direct implications on the body just like all drugs, it was important for the components of each drug to be tested to ascertain the efficacy for human consumption and the environment under which they were produced to avoid contamination.

He said they will also step up their sensitization and education to create awareness for consumers to appreciate the need to read information on products to ascertain its safety, and to report any unusual detection to the FDA for action.