Scientists at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) have discovered metal particles in milled maize after a study.
The study published in the Journal of Science and Technology confirms widely held concerns about food prepared with maize.
The findings suggest Ghanaians consume between 25 to 97.2 milligrams of iron particles daily from meals prepared from milled maize.
This is far above the National Research Council recommended dietary iron intake. Corn milling, whether wet or dry, is a major activity in Ghana.
According to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, over 95% of Ghanaians enjoy dishes prepared from milled maize.
However, wearing off of metal plates used in the milling means metal particles find their way into the milled food.
The study which was conducted at 105 maize milling shops in Ghana found for a total mass of 1,800 kilogrammes of milled maize, the amount of metallic iron particles found is about 175 kilograms and 90 kilograms for wet and dry milling, respectively.
The findings published in the Journal of Science and Technology indicates the amount of iron particles in milled maize increased with the quantity.
A member of the research team at the Department of Materials Engineering, Ing. Dr Anthony Andrews said, “Consuming it [metal particles] is unorthodox, and it can be detrimental to health.”
The researchers are taking steps to improve the wear resistance of the locally produced mill plates.
Corn Grinding Mill Machinery
This includes adding chromium and other elements to produce cast steel instead of cast iron.
This will reduce the rate of corrosion of the mill plates.
The Materials Engineering Department of KNUST plans to train small-scale foundry operators to improve the manufacture of milling plates.