NIGERIA – The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has cautioned bakers in the country to desist from using potassium bromate to enhance bread properties as it has grave health consequences.

Prof. Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, the NAFDAC Director General, made the appeal at a sensitization campaign in Agulu, Anambra State. Represented by the Director of Chemical Evaluation and Research, Pharmacist Mrs. Ngozi Onuorah, Prof Adeyeye warned that potassium bromate is a silent killer, hence, should not be used for human consumption.

“The use of Potassium bromate is a recurring decimal and we have renewed our earlier warning that bakers of bread who are trying to cut corners by using it to enhance the size of their bread to desist from the practice,” she stressed.

While saying that there are healthy alternatives that have been introduced to the bakers which are not injurious to public health, Prof. Adeyeye expressed sadness that some bakers still use potassium bromate to the detriment of public health.

“It has come to the knowledge of NAFDAC that some bakers are clandestinely still using potassium bromate, especially at the grassroots level where they think they are not within the precinct or the full glare of the NAFDAC regulatory officers. We are also asking the law enforcement agencies to also join the crusade so that we can rid the country of such people,” she said.

On why NAFDAC is paying special attention to bread, the Director-General informed that bread is a major staple food for most Nigerians. Almost every family in the country eats bread on a daily basis either for breakfast or other meals.

“We are also appealing to the Nigerian Master Bakers Association to renew their efforts and drive in self-regulating. This is because we have been working closely with the union in ridding the bad elements among them in the past. We are again appealing to them to report to the nearest NAFDAC office anybody that is apprehended for using potassium bromate to enhance bread,” she said.

Carbide for fruit ripening

The agency has additionally warned fruit sellers to refrain from using carbide as a ripening accelerator.

Prof. Adeyeye warned that carbide has enormous negative implications on the health of the people, hence, should not be used on fruits, stressing that it could cause, liver diseases and many other health challenges. She appealed to Nigerians to be on the alert and report anyone found using the substance to ripen fruits to the nearest NAFDAC office or any law enforcement agency.

“In the past four years, we have been intensifying efforts to tackle the menace. We have held several sensitization forums for fruit and vegetable sellers across the country. This time around, we are taking the campaign to another level by going from community to community and getting the people enlightened and sensitize them about this ugly practice,” she expressed.

NAFDAC officials are currently on surveillance across the country to capture those allegedly using carbide to ripen fruits before selling.

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