Naija Foodie Update

Foodie Update (Eat Imported Chicken, Turkey, Risk Cancer – NAFDAC)

The days when chicken and
poultry used to be an exclusive
preserve of the rich or a delicacy
for Sundays, Christmas and very
special festivities are long gone
as its consumption has become a
huge business and themainstay
for several businessmen and
women. Ruth Tene Natsa writes
on the risks involved in eating
these imported foods.
The warning by the National
Agency for Food and Drug
Administration (NAFDAC) that the
consumption of imported poultry
and turkey products may lead to
cancer, kidney diseases and
hypertension should be a
deterrent to all to avoid such
products but not yet as Nigerians
continue to consume the
products.
According to the NAFDAC boss, Dr
Paul Orhii, the risk in the
products is as a result of
substances that can predispose
one to kidney, liver and lung
diseases as well as certain types
of cancers and drug resistant
bacterial infections among
others.
A major disadvantage to the
consumption of imported poultry
foods and products aside its
health implication is the dearth
of the nation’s poultry markets as
farmers have to contend with
low market demands for locally
grown chickens which are
cheaper, healthier and more
accessible.
These challenges are further
exacerbated by the nation’s
inefficient power system which
limits farmers’ abilities to
effectively store frozen products,
poor storage facilities, a low
market demand structure as
consumers show a preference
for the imported products and a
corrupt system where criminals
in the guise of business men
smuggle frozen products into the
country at the risks of local
poultry farmers.
Another report that the Central
Bank of Nigeria (CBN) spent N187
billion on the importation of
wheat and fish, among other
goods which can be conveniently
produced in Nigeria leaves one
wondering if Nigerians have a
bias for success or development
because while our farmers
continue to lack markets for their
products, demands for foreign
goods and services continue to
soar, enriching the importers.
The fact that Nigeria remains a
viable market for the many
foreign chocolate testify to that.
Unfortunate results of the love
for foreign made goods are the
loss of jobs, loss of foreign
exchange, importation of
diseases, as warned by the
NAFDAC, poor development of the
nation’s manufacturing and
agricultural industries, among
several others.
LEADERSHIP Friday’s efforts to
trace the reason for the high
demand for imported chicken
and turkey revealed Nigerians
love for foreign products,
demand for quality, a social
status symbol, poor manpower
development, porous borders,
and the get rich syndrome which
is only concerned about
enriching the importers at the
expense of the farmers.
According to a housewife, Mrs
Nwafor, the love for foreign
poultry is the fact that it saves
one time on dressing and
packaging which the local
farmers often do not have the
patience to do.
“I love buying the imported
chicken and turkey because it is
usually clean and easy to pick up
and cook rather than going to
the market to wait for those
mallams to kill and dress poultry
for you. Also it makes it easier in
that one can buy in smaller
affordable quantities.
“I have never seen locally
produced or dressed turkeys and
they are usually more expensive
if one has to buy the whole. But
in the markets, one can buy just
a wing or a thigh without fears
of emptying one’s bank account.
Also, I do not think that our
farmers can sufficiently produce
all the poultry this nation
requires.”
Reacting to the health
implications of eating the foreign
products, she queries, “If they
are dangerous, why do the
government allow them to
import them? These products
come through our seaways, they
get into our ports and borders
and at the end are sold in open
markets. If they are that
dangerous, why are efforts not
made to arrests those
responsible; why are they not
destroying or seizing those
goods in the markets after they
have successfully escaped the
customs at the borders?”

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