NAFDAC reels out dangers of ripening fruits with calcium carbide

You are currently viewing NAFDAC reels out dangers of ripening fruits with calcium carbide

By Felix Uka

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC has reeled out the dangers of ripening fruits with calcium carbide. The agency frowned at the use of the calcium carbide in ripening of fruits  and described the act as another public challenge facing the country, and announcing that the agency has deployed a multifaceted approach to tackle the menace. They accused drug hawkers across the country as major distributors and suppliers of narcotic medicines to criminal networks such as armed bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and armed robbers. The Director General of the Agency, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye made the disclosure during the South East Zone NAFDAC Media Sensitization Workshop on Dangers of Drug Hawking and Ripening of Fruits with Calcium Carbide in Awka, Anambra State.

The Director General Represented by the Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research, Dr. Leonard Omokpariola maintained that the drug hawkers constitute serious threats to national security.

Prof. Adeyeye said that many drug hawkers, knowingly or unknowingly, are Merchants of Death adding that they expose essential and life saving medicines to the vagaries of inclement weather which she said degrade the active ingredients of the medicine and turn them to poisons that endanger human lives. “Most of the drugs sold by the illiterate and semi-illiterate drug hawkers are counterfeit, substandard or expired, and therefore do not meet the quality, safety and efficacy requirement of regulated medicines.”

She expressed regret that illiterate and semi illiterate drug hawkers also engaged in the prescription of drugs, hold consultations, recommend and prescribe medicines to their gullible “patients”.  Drugs are sensitive life-saving commodities which should not be sold on the streets, motor parks or open markets just like any other article of trade.

The NAFDAC GD who also frowned at the use of calcium carbide in ripening fruits described the act as another public challenge facing the country and maintained that the agency had deployed a multifaceted approach to tackle the menace. “Fruits provide the body with micronutrients that improve immunity and prevent diseases among other benefits. Fruit ripening is a unique aspect of plant development, which makes the fruit edible, softer, more palatable, nutritious and attractive. However, the consumption of fruits such as mango, banana, plantain, guava, orange, grape, etc or any other fruits ripened with calcium carbide is dangerous to health.”

She said that artificially ripened fruits are all yellow, whereas the stem is dark. “This is true, especially with banana and plantain. In addition, naturally ripened fruits usually have brown or black spots, while those artificially ripened have traces of powdery substances and peel off quickly. Consumption of fruits artificially ripened may cause cancer, heart, kidney and liver failure. They may also cause frequent thirst, irritation in mouth and nose, weakness, permanent skin damage, difficulty in swallowing, vomiting, and ulcer.

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

Prof. Adeyeye warned that any drug hawker arrested by NAFDAC would be prosecuted and will definitely face a jail term. She assured that Enforcement Officers were currently carrying out synchronized nationwide operations.

“No offender will be spared from facing the full wrath of the Law.” She solicited the co-operation and support of all other Law Enforcement Agencies, Nigerian Journalists and well-meaning Nigerians in ridding the country of this harmful and shameful practice.



Leave a Reply