The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Edo on Tuesday says it will begin testing of food items to detect adulterated food and fruits in the state.
Mr Philip Ogieriakhi, the director of produce in the ministry, said this at sensitisation of market women to the prevalence of adulteration in some markets in Benin metropolis.
Ogieriakhi said the sensitisation was done in collaboration with the state chapter of the Association of Livestock Managers and Food Products Dealers Cooperative Society.
He said the awareness campaign became necessary in view of the rising health challenges caused by the continuous consumption of adulterated fruits and food items in the state.
“Knowledge and awareness about adulterated foods are crucial, consumers must arm themselves with information.
“We have discovered that people use harmful chemicals such as carbide to ripen fruits.
“They no longer allow cassava to ferment for minimum of three days which leads to high content of hydrocyanic acid in garri.
“The use of gamalin 20 to kill fish and grass cutter is very dangerous to human health.
“They also use formalin to preserve frozen chicken and turkey; these chemicals are harmful to the body and causes cancer,’’ he said.
He noted that adulteration poses serious risk to human health in some cases.
“So testing would begin soon in the state and any food item or fruit found to be adulterated would be seized and the seller or dealer prosecuted.
“The result of continuous consumption of these chemicals clogged blood vessels which can lead to high blood pressure and cancer.
“People are buying poisonous foodstuffs unknown to them and we are determined to stop the trend in the state,’’ he warned.
He called on dealers in agricultural produce in the state to desist from adulteration of farm produce.
Some of the markets visited included the popular New Benin market, Ekiosa and Oba, among others.(NAN)