The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control has warned Nigerians against adding chemicals and additives to food and drinks to enhance taste.
NAFDAC Director-General Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, in a statement, said such practices could result in severe illness and even death, especially when the source and content of such additives could not be verified.
“The public should know that they don’t have to add chemicals to food except table salt. Chemicals kill very fast because there is no prescribed amount to use. To use chemicals to make food or drink sour, you may never know what you are adding, “ she said.
She said the agency had apprehended merchants of dangerous chemicals that recently killed three persons in Kano after consumption of adulterated flavored drinks.
She said the agency had also submitted results of preliminary investigations of the incident to Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje during her two-day visit to the state on an on-the-spot assessment of the incident.
She said food contamination and poisoning could occur through consuming expired food and from preparing food with poorly sourced water and putting cooked food on the shelf for several days or months: or in the refrigerator for too long, among others.
She said the NAFDAC was working with the Kano State Government to prevent the reoccurrence of the March 11, 2021 incident.
She said internal checks revealed that only two of the five flavoured drinks identified in the incident were registered by NAFDAC; while three were not on the agency’s data base.
“We tested all the food samples, and there was E-Coli bacteria in some. One would wonder how E-Coli bacteria would get into powder. It depends on the storage. If it’s stored in a very humid condition, and expired, the packaging probably was getting compromised, you can get bacteria into dry powdered medium. But ordinarily it shouldn’t happen.
“There was another unknown chemical that was sold as food additive. This chemical for 25KG bag was supposed to be sold for N30,000. One of the merchants got it for N3,000 and sold it to another merchant for N7,000.
“The merchant that got it for N7,000 thought it was Dantsami (Hausa for “something sour”) that they normally use and tasted it to confirm that truly it was Dantsami. Dantsami is what is used in some parts of northern Nigeria to make drinks sour. 25KG kilo bag of the unknown chemical was also sent to the agency’s laboratory in Kaduna for testing,” she said.
She said tests done on the additive chemical,was discovered to be Hydroxylamine. “It’s a poison. Sometimes it’s used for terrorism. This is very sad because it involved people dying’’.