The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has warned members of public to shun consumption of fruits ripened with calcium carbide.
The agency gave the warning on Monday in Abuja in a statement signed by its management, saying that dangerous effects of carbide-ripened fruits include cancer and other illnesses.
According to the management, consuming such fruits can also cause heart, kidney and liver failure.
The statement said: “NAFDAC hereby warns farmers and the general public against the dangers of using calcium carbide for ripening fruits such as banana, mango, plantain, orange and cashew.”
On how to identify carbide-ripened fruits, the management said that “naturally ripened fruits usually have brown or black spots while those artificially ripened have traces of powdery substances and peel off quickly’’.
The Agency further warned that “ripening fruits and vegetables with calcium carbide is a criminal offence’’, adding that henceforth, perpetrators would be prosecuted.
It advised the public to “report suspected cases to the nearest NAFDAC office or call 09094262773, 09094262772 and 08133630600’’.
The Agency reiterated its commitment to safeguarding the health of Nigerians.
NAFDAC, established in 1993, is mandated to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, chemicals, detergents, medical devices and packaged water.
Prof. Moji Adeyeye, founder of Drugs for AIDS and HIV Patients, a non-profit organisation, is the Director-General of the agency.
The organisation is committed to prevention, education, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS children in Nigeria.
Adeyeye is a Professor of Pharmaceutics, Manufacturing Science and Drug Product Evaluation, College of Pharmacy, Roosevelt University, Schaumburg, IL and Chair, USA.