By Benjamin Flowers
The Ministry of Agriculture confirmed this week that the Mexican potatoes which were dyed pink have been discovered in markets all over the country.
Chief Agricultural Officer, Roberto Harrison explained that thus far, the potatoes have been spotted at major markets in all districts, with the exception of the Orange Walk and Corozal municipalities.
Harrison added that the ministry’s investigation is still ongoing and lab tests are still being conducted to determine just what substance was used to dye the potatoes.
“Confiscation is ongoing, but I believe that we have exhausted everything in all the major markets in the country”, Harisson said. “This is not to say that there aren’t a few shops which still have them but we continue to emphasize to the public not to purchase or consume these potatoes”, he advised.
Harrison also mentioned that while the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) is carrying out the investigation, the matter may be a public health concern for the Ministry of Health. The ministry, he says, will be brought in once the lab tests determine what substance the potatoes were dyed with.
According to John Bodden, Principal Public Health Inspector, dying the potatoes would only be considered a breach of public health laws if the additives are of non-food grade substance. It would then be considered adulteration of product.