The Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii has condemned consumption of contaminated foods by Nigerians saying that it accounts for increase in cancer cases and kidney failures by people in the country.
Orhii disclosed this Monday when the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Colonel Hameed Ali paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja.
Orhii noted that most of the exported food products are affected by Aflatoxin food contamination which is the cause for food rejection in the international market.
He regretted that most of the rejected food products at the international market are the same foods Nigerians consume thereby causing cancer and kidney problems for people.
According to the NAFDAC boss, the rejection of Nigeria food items on the international market especially Europe, United States and Japan because of concerns on the quality of some of the products is crippling the economy of Nigeria.
“The rejection is most when it comes to agricultural products like sesame seeds and beans which sometimes contain some contaminants like aflatoxins- pesticides residue.
To this end the DG said that the European Union, EU, has given government a deadline of, June 16, 2016 for compliance to international standard by putting management system in place to reduce pesticide contaminated food products or face continued rejection.
“We also want to put a system in place so that before these products leave our shores to the international markets, the NCS can inquire and test these products to curb the incidence of rejections at the markets.”
He said “We have taken on that job to make sure that we are going to deploy mobile laboratories that will go from farms and markets to identify at what point these contaminants get into the food products and once we identify it we will conduct public awareness campaigns and workshops for the people growing these foods.”
“When we came in, Nigerian cocoa beans were being rejected at the international market because of pesticides’ residue but we held workshops with cocoa growers in Akure and since then, our cocoa exports have improved,” Orhii said.
Ali said that his visit to NAFDAC is to synergize with the agency on a stronger platform for the good of the country.