Palm oil has been part of human diet for more than 5000 years. Nigeria is currently the fifth world’s leading producer of palm oil (Nnorom, 2012). The palm oil industry is a major agro based enterprise in Nigeria especially in the southern part where palm oil trees are found both in the wild land plantations (Nwaugo et al., 2008). For generations, it has been revered as both a nutritious food and a valuable medicine. However, care should be taken to evaluate the purity and safety of this nutritional and medicinal agent to the human system. This study investigated the concentration of lead, magnesium, iron and zinc in thirty-two samples of ready to consume palm oil that were bought randomly from different oil mills in Abia state, Nigeria. The samples were digested with aqua-regia (2:1:2 HNO3:HClO3:H2SO4 respectively) and the digested samples were analyzed using Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy. However, all the samples contained a detectable amount of each of all metals analyzed. The recommended dietary allowance of lead, magnesium, iron and zinc, as stated by World Health Organization was, 0.1mg/day, 310 to 400mg/day, 8 to 18mg/day, and 8 to 11mg/day respectively. The samples contained detectable amounts of the metals although with reference to the information on the metals recommended dietary allowance, magnesium, zinc, lead have concentrations below the World Health Organization /Joint Expect Committee on Food Additives recommendation, iron is far above its recommendation. The results obtained from this study suggest that the palm oil samples analyzed are not safe for consumption due to the excess iron content of the metals of interest analyzed.
EVALUATION OF THE CONCENTRATION OF SOME METALS (Pb,Zn,Mg,Fe) IN DIETARY RED PALM OIL PRODUCED IN SOME LGA IN ABIA STATE