NAFDAC-- The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians about a toxic substance, Aflatoxins found in foods and feeds such as, maize, rice, groundnut among others.
The drug control agency which started an awareness in collaboration with International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), said it became necessary in view of the dangers attached to the consumption of the fungus.
The Director General, NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii who was represented by the agency's Director, Laboratory Services, Mrs Stella Denloye spoke in Ibadan at the workshop organized by NAFDAC, IITA and other international organizations, noted that the toxin could cause liver cancer.
"Records have shown that there are concerted efforts all over the world directed at the introduction of preventive strategies to reduce the risks associated with Aflatoxin contamination and toxicity, particularly the incidence of liver cancer.
"Elimination of aflatoxins after serious contamination has been proven difficult if not impossible therefore prevention and mitigation strategies would need to be the focus for reduction of their presence to acceptable levels"
According to him, these efforts are seen from the backdrop of introduction of mitigation products and stringent monitoring and control measures of the quality of food products by national and international control authorities.
To prevent public consumption of the harmful substance, the agency had organized a similar workshop in the North Central zone of the country, established a mycotoxin testing laboratory and has also introduced a safe and cost effective biocontrol product called 'Aflasafe which reduces aflatoxins in field and stores.
This, he noted, would help in improving the reputation of the country as a reliable supplier of good quality food products to the global market.
The toxin is mainly found in maize and other products.
In his welcome address, Deputy Director General, Partnerships and Capacity, Dr Kenton Dashiell said Aflatoxin is a major food poison problem across Nigeria, stressing that it cannot be seen or touch and causes liver cancer.
He said: "We are meeting here today to sensitize the public and give farmers the solution to the fungus, especially people who process and store grains, with this it will really reduce Aflatoxins in our food in this country.”