NIGERIA – The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians to desist from adding chemicals to food for whatever reasons, something it has continually reiterated.
The warning was in response to alleged mixing of chemicals like Jatropha Curcas leaves, hypo detergent and potash with Akpu, popularly known as Fufu, to make it rise, be soft and hasten the fermentation process.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that such practice was allegedly done in some parts of Ondo and Ekiti states, especially in the popular Fufu Market at Oke Lisa Street, Adjacent A-Division in Akure.
The NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said that the agency was aware of the alleged practice and warned those indulging in the act to desist.
She said that the agency recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) where youth corps members would be made to sensitize citizens on such practices at the grassroots.
She added that “it is true what some people do, but it is not all Fufu that have hypo-chloride in it.
“This is why the engagement of the corps members is necessary, to explain to the people that they don’t need to add any chemical, except salt and sugar and must also be minimized.
“Too much salt could cause hypertension later-on in life, too much sugar, you are playing with diabetics, you don’t have to put chemical on food to make it to rise or whatsoever reasons,” she said.
Fufu an essential food in most of West Africa, refers to a dough made from boiled and pounded starchy ground provisions like plantains, cassava, or malanga.
Apparently, 95% of traders add these chemicals to fufu for economical gains disregarding the health impacts to consumers.
The agency has severally urged food vendors and market women to desist from using dangerous chemicals as preservatives or catalyst to ripen fruits, saying it constitutes risk to major human organs.
It has also previously raised an alarm over the use of many other practices such as using potassium bromate in bread production, formalin to preserve meat, use of dyes to enhance the redness of palm oil and the use of sniper to preserve beans from insect.