Poisons used in some African Markets to beautify food on sale

The rate that toxic chemicals are being used by food sellers in Nigeria and across Sub-Saharan Africa to improve the look of meat and fish and to also entice the buyer, according to scientists and food inspectors is worrysome and also putting the health of millions at risk.

For many years, government in these region have been weaken in the area of testing capacities, there is no more oversight over informal food supply chains like in those days in Western South Nigeria, when the government body popularly called ''wole wole'', do go from house to house, from market to market and from shop to shop to check if food, water and others are in good conditions. But as at today, there is little or no protection for unwary consumers.


There are techniques that can help people identify contaminated food before they buy it. 

Here are a few tips consumers can follow to avoid toxic foods.
If bunch of bananas or plantain in which all the individual fruits have reached the same level of maturity, it’s likely that they haven’t been left to ripen naturally.

When bunch of bananas is allowed to ripen naturally, the individual fruits will mature at their own pace; they will never all be ripe at the same time.

If meat does not attract a single fly, it is not good quality meat. Because when meat is on display, it’s normal for flies to be buzzing around it, even if they can’t land on it.” So, dont buy meat without flies buzzing over it.

Also, dont buy beans without a single Mites/beetles, it was discovered recently in Abuja, Nigeria market, that sniper insecticide is being used to preserve the beans from Mites, therefore causing danger to the consumers.

Serge-Claire Nkolo, a veterinary surgeon and departmental delegate of the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries (MINEPIA) in the Cameroonian coastal city Douala, said “What mostly happens is people pour a very toxic insecticide, Gamalin, into the water.”

“After a few minutes, all aquatic forms of life in the area will die and come to the surface. That’s when the fish are gathered.”

Some saleswomen, Rather than buy wood and use firewood, gather up leftover fabric from tailors and burn it to smoke the fish.

When hunting wild animal, some hunters use formalin, especially if they have gone into the bush for a hunting expedition lasting several days. It is used to embalm and preserve bodies in morgues, butchers use formalin to keep meat from going off.

They use this product on game they have killed to stop it from decomposing so it can be preserved until they get back to their village,” Ngono says

The US Environmental Protection Agency classifies formalin as a “probable human carcinogen”, linked to cancers of the nasal cavity and leukaemia. Milk medicine

It’s mostly resellers who are guilty of these practices. A trader might have taken an order to provide ripe plantain within two or three days. They go and buy the fruit from a grower and then, without the producer knowing anything about this, treat it with ethrel or gibberellin to ensure it ripens ahead of their deadline.”

These practices have real health impacts for the people who eat this food.

Because of this evil practices, Two people died after a whole family was hospitalized when they ate a local dish known as mbongo tchobi that was made with fish caught using Gamalin.

According to the first comprehensive report on food safety from the World Health Organization, the agency says that unsafe food is responsible for 600 million cases of foodborne diseases and 420,000 deaths globally each year.

The report, by the Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group, said that 30 per cent of food-borne deaths occurred among children under five, with Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia recording the largest burden of food-borne diseases.

The authorities in this region need to carry out regular food safety inspections, experts also highlighted the need for greater awareness among producers of fruit and vegetables, meat, and fish, as well as consumers.

The solution to this menace in this region also requires stronger regulation of the sale of controlled-use chemicals.

This article was originally published on SciDev.Net. You can read the original article here.

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Poisons used in some African Markets to beautify food on sale Poisons used in some African Markets to beautify food on sale Reviewed by E.A Olatoye on July 13, 2020 Rating: 5

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