The National Agency for Food and drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), recently urged Nigerians to desist from consuming imported frozen chicken due to the dangerous chemicals used to preserve them.
According to the agency, chemicals like formalin used to embalm corpses is now being used to preserve frozen chicken. The consumption of such chicken can lead to cancer and kidney diseases, NAFDAC warned Nigerians.
Unfortunately, the warning has not dissuaded many Nigerians from consuming imported frozen chicken, as my findings when I recently visited some shops that sell frozen products in Lagos state, showed that many Nigerians still consume such products.
Asked if they know the consequences of their actions, some of them who spoke with me, said they are not aware. Others claimed that they are aware but still continue consuming them because they are bigger, cheaper and sweeter than locally reared chicken.
For instance, one Mrs Kesena Ibekwe, a mother of two, told me that she is aware of the dangers of consuming imported frozen chicken.
However, she persists due to the fact that local chicken is more expensive than foreign chicken. “How many local chicken will I have to buy that will be enough for my family? N3500 is the least amount you can get a live chicken, but you can buy one kilo of frozen chicken for N2100.”
On her part, Mrs Tessy Martins said her family, and relatives have been consuming imported frozen chicken for years. She told me that she is aware of the health implication, “But then, I can’t afford our locally reared chicken, because they are tiny and expensive.”
Now that NAFDAC has warned Nigerians not to consume imported frozen chicken, Mrs Martins said, “We will stop, but however, let me use this opportunity to appeal to our farmers to reduce the price of local chicken so that we can afford them.”
Meanwhile, NAFDAC’s resident media consultant, Sayo Akintola, told me that findings of the agency has shown people use formalin to preserve frozen chicken.
“As an agency with the mandate to protect Nigerians and to eliminate substandard and fake medical products, illicit drugs, unwholesome foods, chemicals, medical devices, and other products, we are pleading to Nigerians to stop consuming frozen chicken, especially the imported ones,” Akintola said.
Akintola, while lauding federal government’s effort in its intervention in the agricultural sector, urged Nigerians to start patronising local farmers’ products to boost the economy.
He said, “Federal government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, is investing heavily in that sector. To what end? simply to upscale that sector of the economy. Our local farmers are now producing enough local foodstuffs for consumption.
“Our local chicken is more healthier than these so called foreign chicken. Also, patronising imported chicken won’t help our economy. I am using this medium to appeal to Nigerians to consume what we are producing.”