Ministry warns of meat poisoning in Kwara

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has notified the general public of the outbreak of poison in trade animals which occurred at a local market in the country.

A statement issued Thursday by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Temitope Fashedemi, said the outbreak was detected at Mandate Cattle market, located near the College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies at Adewole, Ilorin, Kwara state.

It said the Kwara state Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that mortality in herds occurred at the aforementioned market on Saturday, 20th April.

“The outcome of the investigation revealed that animals had grazed on the forage that was fumigated with organophosphate chemicals prior to the incident,” the statement said.

Organophosphates are chemicals that feature in agricultural products, such as herbicides, pesticides, and insecticides. Exposure to organophosphates can be harmful, experts warn.

Poisoning can occur after short or long-term exposure and can cause nerve damage and disrupt hormone production in humans and animals. Organophosphates are also toxic to plants and insects.

A study published by the US National Library of Medicine, in the United States, said around 8,000 people per year come in contact with organophosphates but fatalities are rare.

Globally, about 3 million people come in contact with organophosphates annually and it is responsible for some 300,000 deaths. 

As a result, the US government introduced tighter rules regarding the use of organophosphates in 2013.

On Thursday, the agric ministry said clinical signs observed in the affected animals were hypersalivation, weakness, and recumbency.

 On noticing this, the herders decided to slaughter seven of the very weakly affected animals for public consumption.

“This has public health risks, and the consequences may be very severe in the food chain,” the statement said.

Fashedemi said it is important to note however, that there is a Rapid Response Team (RRT) in every state in Nigeria, made up of Federal Epidemiology Officer, State Director, Veterinary Services and State Epidemiology Officer, who have been adequately trained for emergencies such as this.

“In this particular instance, the RRT in Kwara State in collaboration with the State Government’s task force, swiftly swung into action to trace and confiscate the meat from the slaughtered animal; these were subsequently disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner,” the statement said.

(Premium Times)