Naija Foodie Update

Foodie Naija Update (Group Raises Alarm Over The Use Of Antibiotics)

The increasing rate of human resistance to antibiotic has been blamed on the consistent
consumption of animals fed with antibiotics.

This aptly explains why the theme for this year’s World
Consumer Rights Day [WCRD] celebration coming up on
Tuesday, March 15th has been chosen as ‘Antibiotics Off The
Menu’.

Consumer International [CI] will
be campaigning with members around the world for fast food
companies to make a global commitment to stop the sale of
meat raised with the routine use of antibiotics important to human medicine.

Last year, with the rise in food- related diseases such as
obesity, high blood pressure, etcetera, the theme was
‘Helping Consumers choose Healthy Diets’.
Every year to mark the WCRD, the Consumer International
chooses a theme to draw the attention of consumers and
create awareness to the plight of people while urging
government and other stakeholders to right the anomaly.

Antibiotics resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world. The World
Health Organisation [WHO] has warned that, without urgent
action, we are heading for a post antibiotic era, in which important medicines will stop
working and common
infections and minor injuries can once again kill.

Growing antibiotics resistance is driven by over use of
antibiotics. Around half of the antibiotics produced globally
are used in agriculture, with
much of this being used to promote faster growth and to
prevent, rather than treat, diseases.

In Nigeria, the theme has been adapted to ‘Consumer Beware,
Antibiotic Resistance Can Kill’, disclosed Mr. Abiodu Obimuyiwa, Deputy Director,
Public Relations, Consumer Protection Council Nigeria [CPC].

Speaking from his Abuja office in a telephone interview,
Obimuyiwa lamented that consumers have developed resistance to some antibiotics
due to the abuse and indirectly over consumption of it
through chicken, turkey, beef and other animals that had been fed with antibiotics.

It should be noted that most farmers feed animals with
‘Growth’ antibiotic and this eventually transcends to human beings when they eat
such animal meat.

The CPC Deputy Director PR said
that the Council has lined up week-long activities to mark
the celebration of the WCRD throughout the nation.

However, the celebration is
kicking off with visits to the mosques and churches where
members of the public will be
sensitised about the dangers inherent in building resistance
to antibiotic.

“There will be a media briefing on Tuesday and road shows in states where there are CPC
zonal offices and a
stakeholders’ forum on Thursday,” disclosed Obimuyiwa.
Speaking on how he will rate the achievements of CPC in Nigeria so far, he said, “Without being immodest, I think we have done so much
especially in the last two years.

We have been able to tackle many multinationals, gotten MTN to comply with our directive within 24 hrs. Small
companies have also started toeing the right line.”

Recalling the latest incident, with the Abuja Electricity Disco, where a 10-year-old boy was
electrocuted because of negligence, the DDPR said that the Council in collaboration with another government
agency were able to bring the culprit to book as the culprit
shall pay the boy’s family N10m
compensation.

“We receive numerous letters
of commendation from members of the public whom we have resolved their
complaints.

Some people will
say that we are not yet where we are supposed to be but we are getting there,” stressed the DDPR.

Speaking further, he said, “Many people are aware of the
agency and are of the opinion that the fear of the agency is the beginning of wisdom,” adding that “gradually consumers are beginning to
take their positions as queens and kings in the market place.”
But to that, I quickly interjected that Nigerian consumers are still far from that position of king in the market place.
Meanwhile, according to the WHO, despite worldwide concern about the overuse of
antibiotics, their use in agriculture is due to increase by two thirds by 2030, from
63,200 tons in 2010 to 105,600 in 2030.
According to research findings from WHO, the use of antibiotics in farming is threatening to make some common ailments untreatable.

Consumers have an important role to play in persuading food
companies to make the changes that are needed to stop this global public health
threat and protect our medicines for the future.

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