FSQA: Mayonnaise recycled for cooking oil not fit for consumption 

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By Mustapha Jallow

Mamodou Bah, the Director General for the Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA) on Monday said the small buckets of mayonnaise that were recycled into cooking oil after it was abandoned at a dumping site in the market of Banjul, are not fit for consumption. 

“That mayonnaise isn’t fit for consumption,’’ he remarked. 

Weeks ago, citizens were shocked after the city mayor of Banjul revealed on her social media page that the dumped buckets of mayonnaise were being recycled for cooking oil, which was immediately reported to the police.  

Speaking further on this particular case, Bah said the mayonnaise was found dumped by an unknown person at the market premises in Banjul. Up to now, he added, they cannot identify the businessperson responsible.    

“We do not know the reason why the person dumped it there,’’ he said.  

Bah made these remarks at FSQA head office at Kairaba Avenue along Traffic Light on September 11 during a briefing with journalists, while addressing the critical food safety issues that have become major concerns in the country.    
According to the FSQA chief, the mayonnaise in question hadn’t expired yet as the expiry date was in November and December – for both the bottles and packaging. He added that the mayonnaise had already been disposed of properly because it was not fit for consumption. 

“We do not find the purported or mayonnaise oil in the markets after intensive search. The police also requested that we test the mayonnaise even though it wasn’t expired. We collected samples and sent them to Dakar for testing. The samples {results} were sent back to us and we also handed them over to the police for their investigation. We were able to find some contamination in it. It wasn’t severe contamination, but the contamination could have been because of being exposed to the dumping site, where it was dumped,’’ he explained.  
Bah said an investigation into the matter continues, adding that the chickens that were dumped at Aboko Nature Reserve were safely disposed off in collaboration with the environment agency, the police, and other concerned stakeholders.   

“Up till now, the police are investigating the matter to know who actually dumped the chickens there,” he reported.  

He asked the consumers to be vigilant when buying foodstuff, urging them to examine the dates and structure of the products. He further revealed that people were using tires to smoke hides, popularly known as ‘cow-kanda’.

“The individuals were caught, and they are currently going to court. We also have cases of fish contamination, where sellers use sniper spray to apply it on the fish,’’ he said.   

Bah said the authority had since engaged and sensitized fish mongers, sellers and other market vendors about the danger or risk of the sniper applied on the fish. He added that inspectors are already deployed at fish landing sites and smoking and processing areas in order to monitor the situations.  

He disclosed that FSQA will soon have a fully operational food testing laboratory to enhance its mode of work. He said the lack of an accredited food laboratory in the country pushes the authority to outside sample testing. He said equipment donated to them by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is not put to full utility due to a lack of specific components that need to be in place.  

“We are trying to establish a full-fledged laboratory accredited in this country and will attain this by the next few months. This will allow all the farmers and all the authorities that need testing to do so at this laboratory,’’ he says.