Officials of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) are currently on surveillance across the country to arrest those allegedly using carbide to ripen fruits before selling.
Professor Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, Director-General of the agency who disclosed this at a sensitization campaign in Onitsha, Anambra State on Friday, warned sellers of fruit such as oranges, banana, plantain and many others to desist from using carbide to ripen them or risk being arrested.
The DG warned that carbide has enormous negative implications on the health of the people, hence, should not be used on fruits, stressing that it could cause, liver diseases and many other health challenges.
The DG who was represented by the Director of Public Affairs of the agency, Dr Abubakar Jimoh, however, appealed to Nigerians to be on the alert and report anyone found using the substance to ripen fruits to the nearest NAFDAC office or any law enforcement agency.
“In the past four years, we have been intensifying efforts to tackle the menace. We have held several sensitization fora for fruit and vegetable sellers across the country.
“This time around, we are taking the campaign to another level by going from community to community and getting the people enlightened and sensitize them about this ugly practice.
“This is because cases of cancers, kidney disease, liver cirrhosis that have been noticed in various hospitals across the country are traced to some of these sharp practices.
“To that extent, NAFDAC is intensifying its campaign and also appealing to fruit sellers to stop the practice and also cautioning prospective buyers to be vigilant about the nefarious activities of some people.
“All hands must be on deck to enlighten our people to allow fruits ripen naturally as it is obtained in the past. But now people just want to make quick gains at the detriment of public health.
“We are appealing to Nigerians to be on the alert and NAFDAC will not hesitate to deal severely with anyone that is apprehended for ripening fruits with carbide because our officials are already on surveillance watching,” she warned.