NAFDAC warns of ‘a thousand ways to die’ in food preservation

NAFDAC Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye.
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Aug. 25 (THEWILL) — In what sounded like a clip from the television series “A-Thousand-Ways-To-Die,” the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) put warns Nigerians against various ways toxic substances have crept into their cooking habits.

The commission specifically warned against the growing trend of using toxic chemicals like formalin, snipers and others in food preservation.

The Agency’s Director General, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye issued the warning on Tuesday during the launch of the nationwide public awareness campaign held at the Double 4 Event Center, Bauchi, during the first phase of outreach to be held in eight select states across the country from August to September.

Adeyeye, who was represented by the agency’s director of planning, research and statistics, pharmacist Fori Tatama, said the agency found that many fish and meat vendors use formalin to preserve their products, even if formalin is used to preserve corpses.

She warned that the misuse of chemicals on food products is dangerous to human health and could even lead to death.

Warning that anyone arrested would face the wrath of the law, Adeyeye said, the sniper, a toxic chemical, is also used to preserve kilishi (dried meat), by vendors in some parts of the country.

“Sniper is misused by most Nigerians. Snipers are not meant to be used to preserve food. Those who make kilishi, if you keep meat dry the flies will come, so sometimes they put the sniper around the kilishi so the flies don’t get close to it.

“It’s not good because if the sniper touches the meat by mistake it will dry up with it and someone will come and eat it unknowingly and you know snipers can kill. It is very dangerous, stop this practice“, she warned.

The DG said the agency had also uncovered the use of kerosene or tanker trucks to transport vegetable oils to markets.

She said: “We have noticed that some tanker trucks which are used to transport kerosene or petroleum products, they will just wash it down a bit and transport vegetable oil in it, it is very dangerous because definitely, this vegetable oil will be contaminated.

“Innocent people will go and buy these vegetable oils and in the end, they will contract diseases. When you see any, please report it to NAFDAC so we can fix it, because if it happens, we don’t know who will buy it.

She advised Nigerians to beware of red palm oil as traders add a dangerous chemical called azo dye to make it reddish and attractive “and if we stop you, it will be very difficult for you to get out of it.”

Adeyeye also warned Nigerians to stop patronizing drug peddlers in markets, car parks and other public places.

She said: “Buying drugs from peddlers who carry these drugs on trays and move around to sell them. They move in the sun, rain and other harsh weather conditions. Medicines are not supposed to be peddled because when they move around in such conditions they deteriorate and therefore are not effective and sometimes become more harmful.

“So please we want to urge all of us, that we should please avoid associating with these drug peddlers, it’s not good. When we stop associating with them, they will cease their activities, but by buying drugs from them, we only encourage them and cause more harm to our loved ones and to ourselves.

“Don’t frequent them, buy your drugs from registered premises, there are so many patent medicine stores that are registered, please buy your drugs from there because if anything happens, you can go back and complain.”