NAFDAC warns against selling industrial animal hides as ponmo
•Says Consumption Could Cause Cancer, Liver, Kidney Damage
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians, especially consumers of animal hides, popularly known as ponmo in local parlance, against the activities of some unscrupulous businessmen/women and traders who are selling industrial animal hides as food article.
The agency, in a statement, yesterday, noted that as far back as 2015, following intelligence reports, NAFDAC, through its Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, had been successfully dealing with isolated cases of dangerous diversion of animal hides meant for industrial use into the food chain for consumption as local delicacy, ponmo, adding that this practice poses grave danger to public health.
According to the agency, investigations revealled that some of the companies legally import hides from countries, such as Lebanon and Turkey, while majority of the product was smuggled into the country through the porous borders.
The statement read: ‘’These imported animal hides are meant for industrial use by leather industries for the manufacture of items, such as shoes, bag, belt, etc. The hides, therefore, are pretreated with industrial chemicals, which are not of food grade and will be toxic and injurious to human health.
“Health hazards inherent in the consumption of such animal hides include risk of liver, kidney and heart damage, increased risk of aplastic anaemia, central nervous system toxicity, cancer, etc.
“Live stock farmers are also to note that industrial animal hides can also not be used to manufacture animal feed, as the associated chemicals will be stored in the tissues of these animals and will eventually end up in humans when consumed, with the attendant deleterious effects listed above.’’
It added: ‘’The general public is hereby encouraged to be very vigilant and exercise discretion when purchasing animal hides, ponmo, and indeed other food items. NAFDAC is fully alive to her responsibilities of assuring the safety, wholesomeness and quality of processed foods offered for sale to the public.
“In this regard, the Agency has increased the tempo of targeted and aggressive routine (unannounced) inspections to monitor activities of animal hide merchants to ensure that only food grade animal hide (ponmo) is sold as food article in our markets.’’
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