NAFDAC Raises Alarm Over Food Vendors’ Use Of Poisonous Chemicals To Preserve Their Food

From: Segun Babatunde in Bauchi

The Director Genera(DG)l of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, has raised alarm that food vendors in the country were applying poisonous chemicals to preserve their food to the detriment of the health of Nigerians.

The NAFDAC boss also advised Nigerians to stop patronizing drugs from hawkers and unauthorised outlets, saying that they should prioritise their healthcare by buying drugs from pharmaceutical outlets that are registered with the agency.

The NAFDAC DG who made this known during a Public Enlightenment Campaign flagged off by NAFADAC in Bauchi State capital held at Double Four Events Centre, Bauchi Tuesday also revealed that among the deadly chemicals being used by meat and fish sellers was formalin, a chemical substance used to preserve dead bodies.

Professor Adeyeye further revealed that the agency has discovered that formalin is used by some meat and fish sellers to preserve their products even though formalin is used to preserve corpse.

The NAFDAC DG warned that the misuse of chemical on food products was capable of leading to many serious diseases and death, warning that anyone arrested would face the full wrath of the law.

The DG, who was represented by Pharmacy Fori Tatami, NAFDAC’s Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, also revealed that sniper, a poisonous chemical, is also being used to preserve kilishi, by sellers in some parts of the country.

“Sniper is being misused by most Nigerians. If it dries with the kilishi, it can kill the consumer,” she warned

Adeyeye expressed regret that most food vendors in the country were applying one chemical to food consumed by unsuspecting Nigerians.

She said the agency had uncovered kerosene or fuel tankers conveying groundnut oil to markets.

“Such vegetable oil becomes contaminated and the moment people buy and use it, they will start experience serious illness and diseases,” she said.

She said that apart from discouraging Nigerians against patronising drug hawkers, the agency is also cautioning Nigerians against buying meat that flies are feeling aware from.

“Such meats are possibly laced with dangerous chemicals that chases flies away so Nigerians must be wary,’ she stated, saying that Nigerians should also be wary of red palm oil as traders add a dangerous chemical call azo dye to make it reddish and appealing.

According to her, the public enlightenment campaign, which will take place in nine states in the country, and between August and September 2021, is to make Nigerians to be aware of the development and give information to NAFDAC in order to arrest and prosecute suspects.

“We should not allow people to put chemicals into the products that we consume. We need to be careful and enlighten our people

While saying that hawking of drugs was prohibited, urging the general public to use the Mobile Authentication System inscribed on drugs to identify fake or genuine drugs, she explained that the key objective of the sensitization programme was to intensify and expand the scope of informal and formal behaviour change communication strategies in order to reach the vulnerable communities especially at the grassroots.

“The advent of Covid-19 Pandemic has aggravated the problem with the challenge posed by substandard and falsified Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). The Sensitization campaigns will therefore contribute significantly to Federal Government’s concerted efforts to inform, sensitize, educate and alert the public about inherent dangers of intake and use of those spurious regulated products”

“These Campaign themes are intended to address the following public health challenges such as dangers of buying medicines from hawkers, Abuse of Codeine and self-medication especially among youths.The dangerous effects of using Kerosene tanker to load groundnut oil, Dangerous practice of using potassium bromate to bake bread, Use of Azo-dyes in Palm oil which causes cancer,

In his response, the Emir of Bauchi, Dr Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu , called on every Nigerian to be responsible as no religion encourage traders to carry out activities that can lead to diseases and death.

Adamu, who was represented by Alhaji Abdullahi Baba, the Sarakin Bauchi, promised to work in partnership with NAFDAC to ensure that abusers of drugs and chemicals were stopped and brought to book

In her remarks, state director of NAFDAC, Mrs Josphine Daylin , disclosed that the agency’s national public enlightenment campaign in the state would be extended to markets, shopping malls and other public places for maximum impact.

She said the development was to prevent the abuse of drug and cegnical substances capable of endangering many lives and hence should be treated with all seriousness.

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