THE HEALTH HAZARDS OF CONSUMING SMUGGLED CHICKEN

Let’s go through this thought process together… I would like you to imagine the possible preservation process required for several tons of frozen chicken that is being prepared to leave the shores of say…’Thailand’ bound for the boarders of Benin Republic; whose minimum stay on the high sea before reaching it’s destination is averagely 4 months…. Say another 2 months required to clear illegally and smuggled into neighboring countries such as Nigeria, being the major target with our ever growing population of about 160 million people.

That’s approximately 6 months from the day the birds are slaughtered before it finally get to the tables of ‘ignorant’…sorry innocent consumers. Hence the reason some people refer to smuggled chicken as ‘cadaver’ chickens because of the long and poor storage process that they must have gone through before getting into the country. This is basically one of the biggest challenges confronting the broiler market in Nigeria.

Research has shown that Chicken is one of the most consumed poultry products in Nigeria. It is also a known fact that during festivities, chicken is one of the most demanded protein food item consumed in the country.

From the health point of view, consumption of just any type of frozen chicken that is available in the open market without trying to possibly find out its source could be a recipe for many health hazards. Medical experts believe that eating imported frozen poultry products can be a silent killer, as its negative effects do not present symptoms, sometimes, even for prolonged periods. The experts explain that such food, has formalin, popularly used for embalming and also a form of cancer causing chemical capable of initiating liver and kidney.

The hazards caused by imported frozen foods to public health cannot be over emphasized. The chemicals used in fattening them up and also preserving them before getting to the final consumers are dangerous and cause hypersensitive reactions and antibiotic resistance in man.

The Poultry Association of Nigeria also spoke on the issue. The President, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, urged the Federal Government to curb the menace, adding that the smuggled chicken is responsible for several health issues experienced in the country, due to the presence of high level of bacteria in the chicken coupled with high toxic chemical that are used to preserve it just to ensure it gets to the market at cheaper rate.

Even though the government through National Agency For Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC) has banned the sale and consumption of these smuggled chickens, we as a people need to come together to put a stop to the smuggling syndicate that is harming both the young and the old silently. We must start this campaign by insisting to verify the source of all chicken purchases we are making.

There are well over 4000 local poultry farmers who have invested heavily to make sure that poultry products come out in a globally acceptable manner. Ensure that chicken that you feed yourself and your loved ones are from our farms here in the country where they are bred and fed. This would in turn create more employment in the country and make our economy bounce back for growth.

Credit: Vanguard News and ThisDayLive

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