The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Friday cautioned the general public to be cautious when buying animal hides, locally known as ‘Ponmo.’
Concise News understands that this was made known in a statement signed by the Director-General (DG) of NAFDAC, Mojisola Adeyeye and she stated that most of those animal hides popularly called Ponmo was smuggled into the country through its porous borders.
She said investigations revealed that ”unscrupulous businessmen and traders are now diverting animal hides meant for industrial use into the food chain for consumption”.
She added that some of the animal hides were pre-treated with industrial chemicals, which were not of food-grade and were toxic and injurious to human health.
According to her, investigations have revealed that some companies legally imported hides from countries like Lebanon and Turkey, while the majority of the product was smuggled into the country through the porous borders.
“The Management of NAFDAC wishes to use this medium to alert the general public and in particular consumers of animal hides popularly known as Ponmo on the activities of some unscrupulous businessmen and traders.
“These imported animal hides are meant for industrial use by leather industries for the manufacturing of items such as shoes, bag, belt, and others.
“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 and many more,’’ she said.
The DG also said livestock farmers were also advised to note that industrial animal hides could not be used to manufacture animal feed.
“The associated chemicals will be stored in the tissues of these animals and will eventually end up in humans when consumed with the attendant effects.
“NAFDAC, therefore, encourages the general public to be vigilant and exercise discretion when purchasing animal hides, PONMO and indeed other food items,’’ Adeyeye said in the statement.
She further stated that NAFDAC was fully alive to its responsibilities of assuring the safety, wholesomeness, and quality of processed foods offered for sale to the public.
“The agency has increased the tempo of targeted and aggressive routine and unannounced inspections to monitor activities of animal hide merchants.”