Heavy Metal Quality and Safety of Plantain from Selected Mining Towns

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Heavy metal pollution has pervaded many parts of the world especially developing countries such as Ghana. Heavy metals can enter the food chain through industrial mining activities. Plantains (Musa sp) are important staple foods in Ghana. They are rich in dietary energy and also prove good quality diet. The relationship between mining and the presence of these heavy metals in plantain was researched into. The Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrophotometer was used to determine levels of Lead (Pb), Arsenic (As) and the Varian hydride system atomic absorption mass spectrophotometer to determine the level of mercury (Hg) in sixteen samples of plantain in three towns Anyinam, Kwabeng and Kibi in the Eastern region of Ghana. The mean levels in milligram per kilogram of the heavy metals from Anyinam were Pb (0.0025), Hg (0.1194), As (0.0022), from Kwabeng Pb (0.0011), Hg (0.1287), As (0.0010) and from Kibi, Pb (0.0256), Hg (0.1125), As (0.0018).The results indicate presence of mercury in all the samples tested. Only Kibi indicated high levels of Pb which exceeded the Codex recommended levels of 0.01mg/kg in fresh fruits and vegetables. The levels of arsenic were generally low. This study provides an assessment of the levels of mercury, lead and arsenic pollution in mining towns in the Eastern region whiles identifying policy recommendations for standards development in Ghana.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Food Science and Technology, College of Science, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Food Quality Management, 2018