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We Don’t Use Chemicals In Preserving Our Goods, Say Cold Room Operators

science labAmidst the raging controversy that has been generated in recent times over the warning by the National Agency For Food and Drugs Administrative Control (NAFDAC), operators of cold rooms in Lagos have cried out that they do not use any form of chemicals in the preservation their poultry foods.

NAFDAC, which is the agency saddled with the responsibilities of regulating foods and drugs in Nigeria, have warned Nigerians against the consumption of imported fish, chicken and turkey as they were discovered to be a causative factor in non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and they also contained substances that could predispose a consumer to kidney, liver and lung diseases as well as certain types of cancers and drug resistant bacterial infections.

If Nigerians heard all these, it remains to be seen, as the smuggling, sale and consumption of these frozen foods seem not to have abated. If anything, the sellers are smiling to the banks as consumption has increased significantly.

Speaking with the owner of D Marvelous God Cold Room situated at Iyana School in Mile 12, who refused to have her name in print, she blamed the government for trying to destroy hers and other hard working Nigerians’ businesses.

According to her, “ let the government come and show me one person that has died from eating smuggled chicken and turkey”. She said that NAFDAC’s findings were lies and propaganda, designed to drive them out of the market so as to make way for “their brother to start importing their own frozen foods”.

When told of the allegation that harmful chemicals were used in preserving the products, she vehemently denied this saying that she brings in her goods normally and transports them neatly and directly to the freezers in her warehouse.

When asked about the time between ‘clearing’ the goods and transporting them to her shop, which could take hours and under the blazing sun, she retorted angrily that they were well frozen and properly covered. She finally admitted after a while that the exporters might use some chemicals to preserve them from their end, but she doesn’t use anything on the food items to preserve them.

According to her, when there is no electricity power, she makes use of her generator to power her freezers, so there is no danger of the goods going bad. Even after this reporter asked how she powered her generators during the last fuel scarcity, she simply replied that she had fuel. She adds that none of her customers have complained of her goods tasting badly or being harmful, so the reports of chemicals were not true.

Alhaja Opeyemi Badmus who operates a mega cold room in Surulere and is a distributor to other retailers told The Guardian that she has never used any form of chemical in preserving her goods. She said that since she is a wholesaler and distributor, her goods were usually fresh and were usually sold under a week. She pointed to her industrial generators beside her huge shop, which she said were used in cooling the freezer when power outages occurred.

A woman present there who identified herself as Mrs. Taiwo, said she is a retailer and usually buys goods from Alhaja Opeyemi. She said she has been buying there for several years and never had a problem with the goods before.

Mrs Taiwo expressed surprise when asked if she uses chemicals to preserve her frozen foods if they are not sold quickly. She claims this is the first time she was hearing people used chemicals such as formaldehyde in preserving frozen food items.



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