The Director General of the Cameroon Customs already instructed his agents to impound such products which pose a danger to consumers.
Several brands of vegetable oil of questionable quality are in circulation in markets across the country. The observation was first made by the Cameroon Association of Refiners of Oleaginous Products – ASROC. Mouna, Promex, Perla, Girasole, amongst others, are said to be some of the cooking oil brands coming from Asia which are not in conformity with norms laid down by the country’s Standards and Quality Agency - ANOR.
Many rounds of investigation by Cameroon Tribune showed that besides rendering a health danger to consumers, the vegetable products of doubtful quality also constitute an unhealthy competition to other brands that are certified.
We learned 20 litres of the doubtful vegetable oil cost FCFA 17,000, whereas the same quantity for the certified ones is sold at FCFA 22,000. Also, 1 litre of the uncertified vegetable oil cost FCFA 1,650 as against FCFA 2,500 for the same quantity for the regular ones.
The relatively cheaper cost of the problematic imported brands has proven to attract customers who do so oblivious of the health dangers that abound. In the spirit of guaranteeing quality food administration and control, and in a bid to protect the national economic space, the Director General of Customs has engaged a riposte.
Going by an official message bearing strict instructions, a copy of which Cameroon Tribune stumbled upon, Fongod Edwin Nuvaga has instructed his collaborators in all terrestrial border posts, airports and seaports to exercise maximum vigilance.
He called on them to systematically search and seize all vegetable oil brands of doubtful quality. Fongod also implored them to ask importers of all types of vegetable oils to present certificates of conformity issued by ANOR during customs clearance.
Following the whistleblowing, we observed that most wholesalers and retailers have taken off the dubious products from public view, but are still marketing them in the black market. The vegetable oils look very unnatural and are said to contain unsaturated fats that are modified to be solid at room temperature.
Health experts hold that the consumption of such cooking oil could cause body inflammation and could mess up the fatty acid composition of the body's cells. Moreover, the products have the potential of dramatically increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease .