Warning against killer foods

In recent times, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has been up and running in its determination to save Nigerians from themselves through what they eat.

The agency has been in its campaign to dissuade them from the habit of consuming fruits ripened with dangerous chemicals. Attention now need to be shifted to consumption of imported frozen chickens and other birds in view of the dangerous chemicals used to preserve them.

Chemicals like formalin are used to embalm corpses are applied to preserve frozen chickens, the consumption of such birds could lead to cancer and renal complications.

But imported frozen chickens are not the only perishable consumables that traders subject to preservatives to keep their products from going bad in their custodies or in transit. Sellers of products like beans dress them with deadly agrochemicals that contaminate grains resulting in other severe health conditions such as skin irritation, blindness, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsion, coma and even death.

Lethal chemicals such as 2.2 – Dichlorovinyl Dimenthyl Phosphate (DDVP) compound, otherwise known as Sniper, are used to preserve beans, and more particularly to eliminate or protect the grains from stubborn insects like the notorious weevils.

The phenomenon of lacing frozen chickens, fish, grains, etc., with harmful chemicals in a bid to avoid economic losses has been a recurring decimal in the country from time immemorial. There are instances where hapless consumers with preference for foreign tastes have fallen victim of such unwholesome practices by traders who are always bent on preserving their goods at the expense of innocent consumers. Unfortunate ones, including a whole family, have been known to either suffer severe health complications or lose their lives in the process.

Besides rice, beans are also in high and constant demand by Nigerians, providing popular by-meals like moin-moin and bean cakes as well as beans soup. The commodity is perhaps the most vulnerable of the grains to destructive insects. And because beans are in high demand, traders go the extra mile to preserve the commodity to avoid losing their investment to rampaging insects.

Preference for frozen chickens by those that consume them is tied to the fat size and affordability compared to the local versions that most consumers argue are skinny, less tasty and more expensive. While some consumers claim ignorance of the dangers of consuming the jumbo size imported frozen products, others admit they are aware of the health implications yet they could not wean themselves of the habit, ostensibly because the products are not only attractive to behold but are also made ready for the pot. This amounts to endangering their lives or going on a suicide mission.

We enjoin Nigerians to form the habit of rearing chickens in their compounds as well as cultivating backyard farming for domestic consumption. They should also persuade themselves go into domestic fishery and other animal husbandry to ease the burden of that comes with spending money on them in the market. Nigeria is endowed with arable land. Droppings from birds can serve as manure for the crops in preference for chemical fertilizers which could constitute other health hazards

Beyond warning consumers of the dangers associated with these commodities, traders NAFDAC should constantly carry out aggressive raids on outlets with a view to identifying locations where the killer products are stored and/or marketed. Those that trade in such products should be treated like criminals who market adulterated drugs which have the potential to kill or harm consumers and appropriate sanctions meted out to them. These can include seizure of their goods and sealing of their shops. They should also be made to face the full wrath of the law to serve as a deterrent to other traders who are only concerned about selling their goods at the expense of human lives and health.We also urge consumers of grains in Nigeria to be very circumspect and heed the warnings by the appropriate agencies at all times. They ought to save themselves from the ironic tragedy of being killed in the course of eating to live. 

UNI Agric Markurdi
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