The operatives of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) have intercepted about 120 tons of imported chemical-laden animal hides and skins, known as ponmo at different locations in Lagos.
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, revealed this in a statement, explaining that investigation has commenced on seven suspects involved in the illicit act.
She further explained that samples of the products have been sent to the laboratory for testing to ascertain the products’ quality and unhealthiness.
Adeyeye confirmed that, “The street value of the product currently intercepted is estimated to be around N25.330m only.”
She advised Nigerians to be careful when buying ‘Ponmo’, and also advised consumers and retailers of the commodity not to patronize importers of hides and skins for consumable animal skins.
The Director-General of NAFDAC opined that the hides are pre-treated with industrial chemicals that are not of food-grade but are toxic and injurious to human health.
She believed that the health hazards inherent in the consumption of such animal hides included risk to liver, kidney and heart damage, adding that it increased risk of a plastic anaemia, central nervous system toxicity, and cancer, amongst several others.
She encouraged the general public to be very vigilant and exercise discretion when purchasing animal hides, ‘ponmo’, and indeed other food items, saying that NAFDAC is fully alive to her responsibilities of assuring safety, wholesomeness, and quality of processed foods offered for sale to the public.