Those life-taking preservatives
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) recently warned Nigerians on the dangers of consuming frozen foods as some unscrupulous people preserve them with formalin, a chemical substance meant for embalming dead human bodies.
Frozen fish, chicken and turkey are the most common food items preserved with this poisonous chemical by fish and meat sellers. Formalin, when consumed is capable of causing severe damage to body organs. NAFDAC also revealed at another time that some ‘Kilishi’ (dry meat) sellers use Sniper, a poisonous chemical, to preserve and keep flies away from the meat. Barbaric!
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, also uncovered how some marketers use kerosene or fuel tankers to convey vegetable oils to the market. In her words, “We have noticed that some tankers that are used to carry kerosene or petroleum products, they will just wash it a little and convey vegetable oil inside. It is very dangerous because definitely, such vegetable oil will be contaminated. Innocent people will go and buy these vegetable oils and in the end, they will contract diseases.
When you see such, kindly report to NAFDAC so we can do something about it.” She also advised Nigerians to be wary of red palm oil as some traders now add a dangerous chemical, called Azo dye to make it reddish, inviting and appealing. This artificial food coloring chemical may be cancerous and is capable of adversely affecting vital organs of the body, whether in high or low doses. How on earth would a man do this to his fellow compatriot without fear?
Sometime last year, I read in the news that some food vendors and chefs add paracetamol tablets to meats when boiling in order to shorten the time it will take for the meats to be cooked. Large doses of paracetamol in the body can damage the liver. In fact, research revealed that some people commit suicide with paracetamol as they take large doses of it. If large doses taken can kill within a short period of time, imagine the sharp effect an incalculable quantity of paracetamol cooked with meat would have on the body. It was also reported at a time that some farmers and beans sellers use sniper insecticide to treat and preserve raw beans from pest invasion. Some time ago, it was brought to the notice of meat consumers that some butchers drive flies away from raw meat displayed for sale by applying formalin on it. At another time, Nigerians were warned by NAFDAC to be wary of carbide ripened fruits which can cause cancer to the body.
The uncontrolled urge by many today to amass wealth stems from laziness and impatience. These people can go any length to become wealthy overnight without paying their dues or going through the proper channel.
Pitiably and unfortunately, many who indulge in these deadly practices are aware of the dangers such actions pose to the body, yet they care less because they make huge profits from killing people indirectly and silently. Insensitive and wicked actions, in our society today, have become normal with many regarding such as proper.
The other day, in Delta State, we read in the news that a pregnant lady in labour reportedly fell off the delivery bed in the hospital and died afterwards. The news story had it that, nurses on duty slept off, leaving the laboring lady unattended to. The pregnant lady’s caregiver was said to have gone home to pick some delivery items. The caregiver only returned to see the lifeless body of the pregnant lady on the floor while the nurses were sleeping. Height of duty negligence and wickedness!
Where did we get it wrong individually and as a nation? What’s wrong? What’s missing? How do we retrace our steps? Who’s responsible for where we are in comparison to where we ought to be? We should constantly be reminded by the food for thought provided in William Shakespeare’s play where Cassius says, ‘’The fault…is not in our stars, But in ourselves…” We are inarguably our own problems; our problems receive automatic solutions if we change our ways. We hurt ourselves in our own doings.
Before you take that action, please give it a second thought. If you are in doubt on whether that action would impact society positively or negatively, seek a second opinion, please!
Ojewale is of the Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA.