THE National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control has advised Nigerians against using chemicals and additives for food and drinks to enhance taste, warning that such practices could result in severe illness and even death.
The agency issued the warning against the backdrop of the recent incident in Kano where three persons reportedly died after the consumption of dangerous chemicals used as additives.
A statement issued on Sunday by the Resident Media Consultant of NAFDAC, Sayo Akintola, on behalf of its Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said “preliminary result of the agency’s investigation was submitted to the Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje.”
She regretted that “three fatalities were recorded with many people having their health compromised”, adding, “even if just one person died; that will be one too many.”
Adeyeye confirmed that, “all the merchants of the deadly chemicals and additives have been apprehended while further investigation continues.”
She said, “We are very particular about food additives, about the temperature at which a food can be kept, or about the expiration date of food. If all of these are violated, then there could be food poisoning.
“Whether it’s food or water, adding chemicals and other substances either to enhance the food or change its form can be dangerous, especially when we can’t verify the source and content of such additives.”
Adeyeye said NAFDAC was working assiduously in partnership with the Kano State Government with a view to preventing the recurrence of the March 11, 2021 incident.
According to her, the agency will work with Kano State Task Force under the Federal Task Force on Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods, which is domiciled in NAFDAC, and the Nigeria Consumers Protection Agency in Kano.
Internal checks, Adeyeye said, revealed that “only two of the five flavoured drinks identified in the incident were registered by NAFDAC while three were not on the agency’s data base.”
She added, “We tested all the food samples, and there was E-Coli bacteria in some. One would wonder how E-Coli bacteria would get into powder. It depends on the storage. If it’s stored in a very humid condition, and expired, the packaging probably was getting compromised, you can get bacteria into dry powdered medium. But ordinarily, it shouldn’t happen.”