Saturday, July 13, 2024

Economic Hardship: Adulterated foods flooding Nigerian markets; palm oil mixed with dye, lard, FG warns

FCCPC has raised the alarm over the increase in adulterated and contaminated foods in the markets.

• June 13, 2024
Palm oil, garri, beans and rice
Palm oil, garri, beans and rice

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has raised the alarm over the increase in adulterated and contaminated foods in the markets.

FCCPC acting executive vice-chairman Adamu Abdullahi said in Abuja on Thursday that some traders were engaging in various forms of adulteration without considering the health implications for consumers.

Mr Abdullahi said this at a one-day sensitisation for traders, farmers, civil society organisations (CSOs), and the public on the forceful ripening of fruits, adulterated palm oil, contaminated meat, and grains.

Mr Abdullahi said the move would ensure a healthier society in line with President Bola Tinubu’s ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’.

He said the acts establishing the FCCPCFC gave it powers to evacuate fake and adulterated products from the markets to prevent consumers from purchasing them.

“We will go to the markets to sensitise the traders and educate the public and sellers that adulterated, fake products are not allowed in the markets, and if they see any, they have somewhere to report.

“We are going to markets in the states, the grassroots, and farms to find out the sharp practices going on and to ensure we get a healthier society in line with President Tinubu’s ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’.

“We have to ensure that the goods in the markets are according to the standard that they should be,” he said.

Femi Stephen of the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare described adulteration as the addition of substandard substances that have the same properties as the food with which they are mixed.

Mr Stephen said palm oil was adulterated with dye, lard (animal fat from pork), and transformer oil (paraffin), warning that adulteration is linked to various health challenges.

He listed some health issues linked to adulteration, such as abdominal pain, nausea, brain damage, stomach disorder, cardiac arrest, liver disease and breathing difficulties.

Mr Stephen urged farmers to seek experts’ guidance in applying pesticides to avoid poisoning.

Promise Ogbonna of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said that forceful fruit ripening is detrimental to health. She said calcium carbide used for the forceful ripening of fruits was arsenic and phosphorus, which had been said to be carcinogenic.

Edozie Ugwu, the vice-president (North-Central) of the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), commended the FCCPC for the sensitisation.

Mr Ugwu said that many Nigerians had lost their vital body organs to food adulteration. He said the market associations would collaborate with the FCCPC and other government agencies to ensure that the law penalised any trader found wanting in the practice.

“What we intend doing is to take this back and sensitise our traders on the importance of avoiding these adulterated foods. We plead that this be extended to various markets,” he said.

The market associations, including market women associations and members of the Food and Hygiene Association of Nigeria, were present at the event.

(NAN)

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