By Sunday Iduh
Benue State House of Assembly has condemned the use of chemical such as Carbide, Potash, Hypo, Ariel and drugs such as Panadol to process food for human consumption
The House took the decision during Thursday plenary following a motion of urgent public importance moved by Hon. Bunde Torkuma (Buruku, PDP) urging the House to cause an investigation into the use of dangerous chemicals and drugs for Food processing in Benue State
The House also requested Ministries of Health and Human Services, Agriculture and Natural Resources; and Industry, Trade and Investment to liaise with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in the state to periodically investigate and penalize erring traders and food sellers from the use of these harmful chemical substances on foods sold.
The House called on regulatory agencies and ministries to by met out punitive measures on those who go contrary to the law and directed its committees on Health and Human Services, Agriculture and Natural Resources and Industry, Trade and Investment to interface with experts in the respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) under their legislative purview to find a lasting solutions to this harmful practice.
Hon. Torkuma informed the House that in a bid to hasten the ripening of certain fruits, including Bananas, Mangoes and wePawpaw among others, so as to rush sales, many traders in Benue State have been applying Carbide, a chemical substance meant for use in the Oxygen-Aceteltyn (gas) welding by automobile technicians
According to him, ” farmers are reportedly making use of Hypo, a chemical for washing agent/stain removal; and detergent, notably Ariel to ferment Akpu, ostensibly to whiten the food substance and remove its characteristics odour.
He noted that “food sellers and many family kitchens use either Panadol or Potash popularly called Akawa for cooking meat as softeners, while others use it for cooking Okra to make it thick and slimy. I am alarmed at the imminent health risks that unsuspecting members of the public are exposed to as a result of the use of these dangerous chemicals in food processing,” he said
The Majority Leader, Hon. Damian Cheme (Gwer West, (PDP) who seconded the motion said it was apt, describing the practice as harmful to human health
The Minority Leader, Hon. Bem Mngutyo (Tarka, APC) and Hon. Terkaa Ucha ( Tiev, PDP) decried the use of chemical substances in food processing, saying a lot of people have developed various health as a result of the consumption of these dangerous chemicals
The Speaker, Hon. Titus Uba stressed the need for people of the state who engage in these unwholesome practices to stop forthwith, saying most people consume these chemicals unknowingly and advised that food and fruits should be allowed to go through natural processes