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HomeNewsNAFDAC cautions against drug hawking, consumption of fruits ripened with calcium carbide

NAFDAC cautions against drug hawking, consumption of fruits ripened with calcium carbide

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned against patronising drug hawkers for treatment of any ailment as well as consuming fruits ripened with calcium carbide.

It noted that the warning was expedient due to the health implications of the two hydra-headed issues prevailing in the society.

The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Moji Christiana Adeyeye, stated this on Thursday, during South-South Zone, NAFDAC Media Sensitization Workshop on “Dangers of Drug Hawking and Ripening of Fruits with Calcium Carbide” held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Adeyeye, represented by Dr Leonard Omokpariola, Director, Chemical Evaluation & Research, noted that calcium carbide contains impurities such as arsenic, lead particles, phosphorus, which pose several serious health hazards.

He added that consumption of fruits containing these impurities may cause cancer, heart, kidney and liver failure, frequent thirst, irritation in mouth and nose, weakness, permanent skin damage, difficulty in swallowing, vomiting, skin ulcer and so forth.

The NAFDAC boss explained that the impurities are hazardous to pregnant women and children and may lead to headache, dizziness, mood disturbances, mental confusion, memory loss, cerebral oedema (swelling in the brain caused by excessive fluids), sleepiness and seizure.

He added, “Calcium Carbide is alkaline in nature and erodes the mucosal tissue in the abdominal region and disrupts intestinal functions.”

The DG also observed that bulk industrial food or ingredients that are not in the retail pack, such as cornflakes, oats, milk, and beverages, are being sold illegally in the open markets to unassuming buyers with little or no care for contamination.

She, however, advised the public not to buy these “dangerous non-retailed packed items from the market to prevent the risk of taking contaminated, substandard, expired and adulterated food or food fraud with grave health implications.”

While cautioning against drug hawking, the NAFDAC DG said they (drug hawkers) are knowingly or unknowingly merchants of death.

“Most of the drugs sold by the illiterate and semi-literate drug hawkers are counterfeit, substandard, or expired, and therefore do not meet the quality, safety and efficacy requirements of regulated medicines,” he said.

He also said the agency has put up modalities to engender maximum sensitization in the nooks and crannies of the country and to clampdown on those involved in the illicit trade, stressing that those found culpable would face the full wrath of the Law

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Director of Public Affairs, Abubakar Jimoh, said Nigeria is inundated with so many fake drugs that they must be eliminated to save the health of Nigerians.

Jimoh said the sensitisation workshop was to partner with journalists and stakeholders to disseminate the dangers of drug hawking and ripening of fruits with calcium carbide to members of the public.

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