Olaitan Oye-Adeitan in this piece writes on the health implications of using harmful substances in food production and preservation.
Perhaps one should pause and ask what the sanctity of life means to people.
This is because if care is not taken, Nigerians might find themselves victims of a hidden battle than the ones confronting them already.
Shockingly, the battle in question is far closer than their skin and they could find themselves being given into it cheaply through their purchasing power for one of the essentials of life.
It is a known fact that food is very crucial to human existence and hardly could any individual survive without food.
However, people may be bargaining for more than the daily nutrients required for the body in what appears to be a sumptuous meal dished before them.
And the harbinger of death is none other than food processors and fruit sellers.
Commonly found among foodstuff sellers is the use of Snipper, a brand of insecticide, being applied on beans to prevent weevils from attacking them, while antibiotics and other drugs are being employed to raise fish for human consumption.
It has also become the practice of many processors to ferment cassava with chemical substances such as bleach and potash to ensure that they do not taste sour.
Fruits, which are usually recommended by nutritionists as ideal for daily diet, are also not left out as traders use carbide to ripen fruits such as oranges, mangoes and bananas to preserve them.
Some people equally use formalin, a chemical used to preserve corpses in the morgue, to preserve fish in cold rooms before eventually selling them to people for consumption.
Is it not appalling to also know that transformer oil is what some food vendors have now embraced as their own ideal oil for frying edibles?
The list of these harmful practices is endless and no one could predict other emerging ones.
This unwholesome practice can no less be described than sheer wickedness against humanity and flagrant disregard for the sanctity of life.
Is it that perpetrators are ignorant of the health implications of their actions or just decided to close their eyes and minds to the dangerous trend just to make money?
So, it is now a case of consciously or unconsciously taking the lives of fellow men for another man to survive.
The question is, Why must people be made to purchase death with their hard-earned money?
Why must food consumption now become a time bomb in the human body waiting to explode and cutting short people’s lives in their prime?
Sadly, the effects of poisonous substances eaten may not be felt early, due to the human body mass which is large such that the havoc accompanying what has been consumed may not be felt immediately.
Medical experts are worried that the practice, if not checked, could subject millions of people to a wide range of serious health problems including, cancer, kidney failure, heart and liver diseases as well as brain damage and birth defects due to these toxic chemicals.
It would be recalled that the National Agency For Food And Drug, Administration And Control, NAFDAC raised alarm sometime ago over the unwholesome practice, likewise the Oyo State House Of Assembly at its recent plenary in Ibadan.
The lawmakers strongly frowned at the practice of using bleach, detergents and potash in the processing and preservation of Fufu(a local delicacy) and ponmo(cow skin often cooked and loved by many) to make it soft and maximize profit.
The time had now come for the government to rise and demonstrate its regard for the sanctity of the lives of Nigerians by constituting a task force that would constantly monitor processes of food production and arrest anyone culpable of using harmful substances while the law must take its course on offenders.
Agencies responsible for food safety must begin to educate the public about the risks associated with unhealthy practices.
Every individual must realize that life is sacred and given by God.
Therefore, any injurious action against a fellow human being is against God.
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