The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians to apply caution in the purchase and consumption of animal hides commonly known as ponmo.
The agency in a statement on Friday by its Director-General, Moji Adeyeye, said investigations revealed that some unscrupulous business men and traders are selling industrial animal hides meant for production of leather mterials as food article.
The Director said the investigations also revealed that some of the companies legally imported hides from countries such as Lebanon and Turkey, while the majority of the product was smuggled into the country through the porous borders.
He recalled that as far back as 2015, following intelligence reports, the Agency, through Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, had been successfully dealing with isolated cases of dangerous diversion of animal hides meant for industrial use into the food chain for consumption as local delicacy PONMO.
“This practice poses a grave danger to public health,” Adeyeye warned.
He added, “these imported animal hides are meant for industrial use by leather industries for the manufacture of items such as shoes, bag, belt etc. The hides, therefore, are pretreated with industrial chemicals which are not of food-grade and will be toxic and injurious to human health.
The Director further warned that the health hazards inherent in the consumption of such animal hides include risk of Liver, Kidney and Heart damage, increased risk of Aplastic anaemia, central nervous system toxicity, cancer, etc.
He also warned livestock farmers that industrial animal hides cannot be used to manufacture animal feed, saying the associated chemicals will be stored in the tissues of the animals and will eventually end up in humans when consumed with the attendant deleterious effects listed above.