The Nigerian government’s food safety watchdog has issued a warning about eating fruits that have been artificially ripened with calcium carbide.
According to The Nation, the agency claimed that eating fruits ripened with calcium carbide could lead to cancer, hypertension, a burning sensation in the chest, eyes, and stomach, and even death.
This was announced yesterday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State’s capital, by the Director General, Professor Moji Adedeye, at the Southsouth zonal media sensitization workshop on the dangers of drug hawking and ripening fruits with calcium carbide.
Adeyeye, through Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, Director of Chemical Evaluation and Research, also spoke out against street-level drug sales.
Many concerned Nigerians have voiced support for stricter regulatory measures to combat the growing problem of illegal drug sales and fruit ripening with calcium carbide.
Moreover, “numerous national dailies and non-governmental organisations have raised concerns on the looming danger and health implication of these two nefarious activities by certain unpatriotic and unscrupulous citizens in our country.”
Adeyeye stated that beginning in 2019, NAFDAC has been conducting media-based sensitization activities through various channels, including enforcement via intelligence and raids in fruit markets, where infringing products have been seized and destroyed.
She stated that the purpose of the sensitization workshop was to make good on a promise to continue and expand NAFDAC’s collaboration with health journalists in Nigeria in order to mobilise, sensitise, and train journalists to play a role in the elimination of drug hawking and the artificial ripening of fruits.
In a statement, NAFDAC’s director general said, “The launch for this sensitization workshop today is again a fulfilment of my promise to sustain and strengthen NAFDAC’s existing collaboration with Association of Health Journalists in Nigeria towards mobilising, educating, sensitising, and conscientizing Nigerian journalists to play frontline role in our concerted efforts to eradicate the menace of drug hawking and ripening of fruits with calcium carbide in Nigeria.”