National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration (NAFDAC) has said consumption of fruits ripened with chemicals, such as calcium carbide, is partly responsible for some cases of premature deaths in the country.
The agency, therefore, said it would intensify raids on sellers of calcium carbide for fruit ripening and affected fruit markets. Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, disclosed this in Kaduna, yesterday, at a sensitisation workshop organised for media personnel on dangers of drug hawking and ripening of fruits with calcium carbide.
Represented by Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research, Dr Leonard Omokpariola, the NAFDAC boss described the trend as illegal, saying the chemical contains hazardous substances that may cause cancer.
On planned disciplinary actions, Adeyeye said NAFDAC had “already launched multiple actions. Part of this is raid on some selected food markets, including those which are illegally selling calcium carbide. We are going after all of them.
“A number of arrests have been made across the country by our enforcement directorates. We are going after them in villages, motor parks. And it is instant prosecution for anyone found wanting, because this practice is very wrong, and perpetrators are endangering the lives of Nigerians.”
When asked if using hazardous chemicals to ripen fruits leads to reduction in life expectancy rate, the NAFDAC boss replied: “Yes. A lot of things are culpable, and they help to make the life expectancy rate of Nigerians to really drop.
“Many of us don’t know what we are eating. In the time of our forefathers, they harvested what they ate straight from the farms, fresh, without any form of chemical contamination. That was why they were very healthy and lived long. But nowadays, things have changed.”