NAFDAC seizes imported industrial animal skins diverted for human consumption
From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said on Sunday it had seized large quantities of animal hides and skins known as “Ponmo” suspected of having been pre-treated with industrial chemicals that are toxic and harmful to human health.
NAFDAC explained that the hides and skins were supposed to be used for something other than human consumption, but the importers reused them for human consumption.
The agency said the unnamed chemical used to pre-treat the products could cause liver, kidney and heart damage, increase the risk of plastic anemia, central nervous system toxicity, cancer, among others. for anyone who consumes the Ponmo.
NAFDAC Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye in a statement on Sunday confirmed that seven traders have been arrested in Lagos by its officials in connection with the importation of products and are being questioned.
She said the essence of the announcement was to alert the public, especially Ponmo consumers, to the activities of unscrupulous businessmen and traders who sell industrial animal skins as food products.
She confirmed that many complaints were
received from Nigerians during the sale and distribution of imported hides and skins for use in the leather industries, which had previously been treated with industrial chemicals and then sold for human consumption as hide products. animal, otherwise called “Ponmo”.
Professor Adeyeye explained: “Our investigations and enforcement officers quickly carried out intelligence gathering on where the products were stored. Surveillance has been extended to some buyers who patronize warehouse vendors and guards.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that some of the hides and skins were illegally imported and sometimes diverted to certain death dealers who reprocess them and sell them as Ponmo consumables to the public.
“We have carried out investigative raids on some identified locations in Lagos State where market women and men were found grouped together to buy the remains from the warehouses.”
She revealed that 120 tonnes of the products were intercepted at six different locations, and seven suspects believed to have been involved in the acts are currently under investigation.
The NAFDAC boss further explained that samples of the products were sent to the lab for further testing to verify the quality and level of unhealthiness of the product.
According to her, the intervention would help the Agency deal with the interaction and the dangers associated with the consumption of these products. “The market value of the currently intercepted product is estimated to be around N25.330 million only,” she said.
Prof. Adeyeye, however, alerted Nigerians to the existence of these death dealers and their nefarious activities, and warned Nigerians to exercise caution when buying animal skins, commonly known as Ponmo.