NAFDAC intercepts 120 tons of ‘deadly ponmo’ in Lagos

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has intercepted over N25 million, 120 tons of dangerous animal hides and skins also known as “Ponmo”, at six locations in Lagos, while seven merchants of the deadly product are currently being held by the agency.

In a statement signed by the Resident Media Consultant to NAFDAC, Sayo Akintola, in Lagos the Director General of the Agency, Mojisola Adeyeye warned the general public, particularly consumers of ponmo against the activities of some corrupt businessmen and traders who are selling industrial animal hides as food articles.

She said the development was in response to several complaints received from the public, pertaining to alleged sale and distribution of imported hides and skins meant for use in leather industries and which had already been processed with industrial chemicals.

“These hides and skins are then sold to unsuspecting public as consumable animal skin products, otherwise called Ponmo.

“Monitoring was also extended to some buyers who patronise the sellers and custodians of the warehouse, she said, adding that preliminary investigation revealed that some of the hides and skins were imported illegally and sometimes diverted to some merchants of death who re-process the hides and skins and further sell them as consumable Ponmo to the public.

Adeyeye, hinted that NAFDAC investigation and enforcement officials carried out intelligence gathering around certain locations where the alleged products were being warehoused and sold, in response to several complaints received from the public, pertaining to alleged sale and distribution of imported hides and skins meant for use in leather industries which had already been processed with industrial chemicals, but sold to unsuspecting public as consumable animal skin products, otherwise called ponmo.

Following the discoveries, Adeyeye said samples of the products have been sent to the laboratory for testing, so as to ascertain the products quality and unwholesomeness.

According to her, the intervention would help the Agency deal with the interaction and the dangers associated with the consumption of these products.

The street value of the product currently intercepted is estimated to be around N25.330m only. “

Adeyeye however, alerted the general public on the existence of these merchants of death and their nefarious activities, warning Nigerians to exercise caution when buying animal hides, popularly known as Ponmo

She further advised consumers and retailers of Ponmo not to patronise importers of hides and skins for consumable animal skins,.

She further warned that the hides, are pre-treated with industrial chemicals which are not of food grade and will be toxic and injurious to human health, stressing that health hazards inherent in the consumption of such animal hides include risk of Liver, Kidney and Heart damage, increased risk of Aplastic anemia, Central nervous system toxicity, Cancer, amongst several others.

“The general public is hereby encouraged to be very vigilant and exercise discretion when purchasing animal hides PONMO and indeed other food items. NAFDAC is fully alive to her responsibilities of assuring the safety, wholesomeness, and quality of processed foods offered for sale to the public.”

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