The National Agency for Food and Drug Control have called on Nigerians to stop the consumption of foreign frozen chicken and turkey, as they have been proven to contain substances that are harmful to the human body.
According to the Director General of the agency, Dr. Paul Orhii, who gave the advice during a press briefing held in their new office in Isolo to sensitise Nigerians on the health implications of foreign birds, said most of these products have been known to contain substances that predisposes one to kidney, liver and lung diseases as well as certain types of cancer and substances that cause drug resistance to people who consume them.
He said the agency has control over how local chicken and turkey were bred, as their method of handling, type of feeding and the environment they are been bred were monitored by the agency, but that foreign bred poultry products were not regulated, hence putting the rearers at liberty to breed them without considering human safety.
“Since these foreign poultry products are banned items from entering the country, those breeding them use all manner of chemicals on them and then smuggle them into the country while unsuspecting Nigerians patronise them without knowing what substances such chicken and turkey contain.”
He explained that even the manner in which they were been transported into the country would cause harm to the body, as some were hidden under the cars or trucks while being smuggled into the country country, causing extreme heat to them. Adding that “some of them spend days on the road while taking these products through the bush parts across our borders and at the end, some of them ends up spoiling, yet they would still be sold to Nigerians, often at cheaper prices,” he added.
While reiterating the agency’s commitment to working with Nigerian customs in putting stringent measures on ground for prevention of smuggled products into the country, he called on Nigerians to help in identification of foreign birds. “NAFDAC should be alerted on this so that necessary actions will be taken,” he said.
In his remark, Prof. Olumide Tewe who together with his research team discovered that foreign poultry products contain harmful toxic substances to the human body, warned that the continuous consumption of foreign frozen chicken and turkey would overtime cause serious damage to the body.
According to him, the research was done while comparing various substances in foreign poultry products and that of locally bred poultry products. “It was discovered that the foreign poultry products contain high levels of formaldehyde, as well as high levels of metals and other substances which are lethal to the human body as against the locally bred poultry products which did not contain such substances.”
Prof. Tewe’s research team also believed that most of the foreign poultry products being smuggled into the country were being treated with certain types of antibiotics that causes drug resistance to persons who consumes them.
Throwing more light on the harm done to consumers of foreign chicken and turkey, a member of the research team, Dr. Bidemi Omotosho, explained that some of the studies done on foreign poultry products showed that they contain high level of chloroquinolone, which she described as a powerful antibiotic only used on humans under certain conditions.
According to her, “for someone who consumes chicken or turkey often, it is most likely that person must have taken in excess levels of chloroquinolone which overtime becomes resistant to the antibiotic. So when ever this class of people needs to be treated on chloroquinolone, their body would be resistant to it because they have taken a lot of it into their body system through the foreign chicken and turkey consumed.”
She noted that locally bred poultry products do not contain this substance and other toxic substances often noticed in the foreign bred birds.
She therefore called on the government to put measures in place to prevent smugglers from bringing banned poultry products into the country, adding that Nigerians must stop consuming foreign chicken and turkey.