The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Tuesday, urged Nigerians to shun sellers of artificial ripening fruits, vegetables and hawkers of counterfeit and expired drugs as they are unhealthy to the body.
The Director General, NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the warning in Awka, the Anambra State capital, at the Southeast zone NAFDAC sensitisation workshop on dangers of drug hawking and ripening of fruits with calcium carbide organised for the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHJ).
Adeyeye, represented by Dr Leonard Omokpariola, the Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research, also ruled out buying of bulk industrial food or food ingredients such as cornflakes, milk, oat and beverages that are not in retail pack.
According to her, NAFDAC observed that bulk industrial food or ingredients that are not in the retail pack are being sold illegally in our markets, and could be contaminated, hence dangerous to the body.
“These bulk items are openly displayed and measured to unassuming buyers with little or no care from contamination. This market practice is currently being addressed by NAFDAC through monitoring of the utilization rate and capacity (installed) of end-users to block the gas/leakage of the non-retailed packaged product from being sold in our markets.
“The public is advised not to buy dangerous non-retailed packed items from the market to prevent the risk of taking contaminated, substandard, expired and adulterated food or food fraud with grave health implications,” she added.
Other speakers, including the Acting Director, NAFDAC Southeast Zone, Mr Collins Ogedengbe, the Director Investigation and Enforcement NAFDAC, Mr Francis Ononiwu and Leonard Omokpariola, also lamented that drug hawking and ripening fruits have not only inflicted diseases and pains on people but also killed many as well.
In opening remarks, Director of Public Affairs, NAFDAC, Dr Abubakar Jimoh, stressed that objectives of the training was to recruit journalists to join the agency in sensitising the public on dangers and challenges posed by drug hawking and ripening of fruits with calcium carbide, while there are natural ways of doing that for improved health.