Food Preservation: Sniper Remains Banned, NAFDAC Warns

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has again issued a warning to the Nigerian public regarding the employment of dichlorvos and other hazardous substances frequently used by merchants to prevent food deterioration.

According to the agency, the sale of small volume dichlorvos (100 ml or less), sold as Sniper®, was banned in 2019, while the sale of the large volume (one litre) is limited to certified agrochemicals outlets.

The agency’s director general, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, stated in a release on Sunday, June 2, by its Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, that the ban of dichlorvos was due to its toxicity to human health, which can lead to cancers or death.

Adeyeye, who acknowledged the challenges faced by farmers due to bans on various chemicals, emphasised the importance of transitioning to safer alternatives by farmers, merchants, and traders.

She urged the farmers and vendors to transition to the use of bio-pesticides to preserve their produce as a safer option compared to dichlorvos.

She also warned against the misconception that Nigeria is a dumping ground for banned chemicals, stating that a comprehensive list of the banned chemicals has been provided for public knowledge.

NAFDAC’s admonition followed a recent viral video showing some individuals using dangerous chemicals to preserve food items like beans, stockfish, and crayfish.

While urging traders and merchants to desist from using unauthorized chemicals on food meant for human consumption, the DG stressed that the misuse of dichlorvos poses significant risks to human health, manifesting in both short-term and long-term consequences.

“Long-term exposure can result in severe health implications, including developmental abnormalities in offspring, memory loss, reduced fertility, and potential carcinogenic effects,” she said.

“These adverse effects highlight the importance of adhering to safety guidelines to mitigate the risks associated with dichlorvos exposure.”

Warning against further use of Sniper®, the DG stressed that food remaining unspoiled for an extended period might indicate pesticide contamination rather than freshness unless stored in the refrigerator.

However, in addition to banning the 100 ml size bottle, the DG disclosed that NAFDAC has implemented several initiatives, such as stakeholders’ sensitization meetings on restricting the direct application of dichlorvos on grains and foodstuffs, and thorough laboratory testing to ensure pesticide residues do not exceed maximum limits for both in-country consumption and for exports.

Routine monitoring of stakeholders is also conducted to ensure compliance she added while assuring of NAFDAC’s continued commitment to global best practices, including the phase-out of certain pesticides that have been banned in other countries due to proven toxicity.

In addition, she corrected misconceptions about banned chemicals being dumped in Nigeria, stating that a comprehensive list has been provided to the media to dispel such notions.

The agency’s Director of Veterinary Medicine and Allied Products (VMAP), Rametu Momodu, also disproved the erroneous belief that using certain chemicals, especially pesticides, to protect grains would prevent beans from having weevils.

She said such a method is not an approved practice, adding that there are approved pesticides for use as fumigants, which should be used according to the manufacturer’s specifications on the product label.

While she advised that the chemical should not be applied directly to food due to their inherent dangers to human health, Momodu explained that consuming food contaminated with dichlorvos can cause dizziness, vomiting, difficulty breathing, tremors, and convulsions, and in some cases, can lead to coma and death.

According to Momodu, once used, pesticide residues remain on or in the food, posing significant health risks, adding that, washing the food does not mitigate the risk, as the harmful substance would have already soaked into it.

She said NAFDAC cannot recommend washing as a solution, as it gives a false sense of security, “Instead, grain merchants, market vendors, and farmers should adhere strictly to manufacturer guidelines and refrain from directly applying dichlorvos to beans and other foodstuffs.

“It should be used as intended, either as a field crop treatment or a fumigant, to ensure food safety.

“Consumers should also avoid buying from vendors known to use such practices and report them to the nearest NAFDAC office for appropriate sanctions,” she added.

About The Author

Related posts