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National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)

NAFDAC Warns Against Dichlorvos Usage For Food Preservation

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians against using dichlorvos, a dangerous chemical, to preserve food items.

The agency emphasised the dangers associated with the chemical as it is commonly utilised by traders to safeguard food from spoilage.

The sale of small volume dichlorvos (100 ml or less), sold as Sniper has been banned since 2019 while the sale of the large volume (one litre) is limited to certified agrochemicals outlets. NAFDAC underscores the toxicity of dichlorvos to human health, cautioning that its use could have fatal consequences.

In response to a viral video showing individuals using dangerous chemicals to preserve food items like beans, stockfish and crayfish, the director general, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, urged traders and merchants to desist from using unauthorised chemicals on food meant for human consumption.

The misuse of dichlorvos poses significant risks to human health, manifesting in both short-term and long-term consequences.

Long-term exposure, she said, could result in severe health implications, including developmental abnormalities in offspring, memory loss, reduced fertility and potential carcinogenic effects. These adverse effects highlight the importance of adhering to safety guidelines to mitigate the risks associated with dichlorvos exposure.

The Director of Veterinary Medicine and Applied Products (VMAP), Dr. Rametu Momodu, reiterated that using certain chemicals, especially pesticides, to protect grains and prevent beans from having weevils is not an approved practice, explaining that there were approved pesticides for use as fumigants, which should be used according to the manufacturer’s specifications on the product label. She stressed that these products should not be applied directly to food due to their inherent dangers to human health.

Dr. Momodu further elaborated that consuming food contaminated with dichlorvos could cause dizziness, vomiting, difficulty breathing, tremors and convulsions, and in some cases, could lead to coma and death. She warned that once used, pesticide residues remained on or in the food, posing significant health risks. Washing the food does not mitigate the risk, as the harmful substance would have already soaked into it. She emphasised that the agency cannot recommend washing as a solution, as it gives a false sense of security.

Thus, she urged grain merchants, market vendors and farmers to 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.

She also advised consumers to avoid buying from vendors who are known to use such practices and to report them to the nearest NAFDAC office for appropriate sanctions.