The Management of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has called the attention of the general public, particularly consumers of animal hides popularly known as Ponmo, to the nefarious act of some dishonest business men, who are selling industrial animal hides as food item.
The agency through a press statement signed by the Director General disclosed to pharmanewsonline that it has received several intelligence reports on this development since 2015, and through 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. This practice poses grave danger to public health.
The agency explained why the illegally imported raw leather materials are dangerous to health, noting that they are pre-treated 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.
The statement also cautioned livestock farmers to desist from using industrial animal hides as raw materials for 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.
Although presently, there is no special way of differentiating the poisonous Ponmo from the safe one, as there are no distinctive features to show the difference, but the NAFDAC Director in charge of Laboratory Services, Sherif A. Olagunju fsi, it is only by laboratory analysis that a distinction can be made. Thus, he advised consumers to only purchase their Ponmo from trusted sources.
“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”, it assured.