Mycotoxins deny Local Goods access to EU Markets
Experts at an international symposium organised by International Society for Horticultural Science(ISHS) and the Raw Material Research Development Council,(RMRDC),on Wednesday in Abuja raised concerns regarding effects of mycotoxins as a major factor denying Nigerian and other developing countries of its food items access to the European and American markets.
Myco toxin is a toxic secondary metabolite produced by organisms of the fungi kingdom, commonly known as molds. The term ‘mycotoxin’ is usually reserved for the toxic chemical products produced by fungi that readily colonize crops.
The concerns being raised by experts is coming on the heels of the European Union,EU , restriction until 2016,the importation of beans and other staple food items from Nigeria due to failure to comply with SPS and food safety measures for gaining access to the EU markets.
Notably,Aflatoxin is a byproduct of mold that can cause DNA damage. With prolonged exposure to aflatoxin, cells accumulate DNA mutations and thus are at increased risk of developing into cancer cells.
“Mycotoxins affects the health of the humans and the animals. The spate of cancer in the country now is worrisome and aflatoxin has been implicated to be an agent of live cancer,underweight of children,because they go straight to attack organs in the system. Mycotoxins doesn’t segregate the big from the common people. What we are doing is to lay emphasis on healthy food for both locally consumed food and the our ex portable products.
“The relationship between food and health is close. Europe it would recalled have placed ban on commodities of Nigerian origin like the Sesame seeds,Palm oil,the beans,the Ogbono and the Melon seeds have been banned as a result of this biochemical contaminants. It was banned because they know the effects and would like to protect their citizens. We are creating awareness here so that our people would also ensure healthy standard in buying these items.
We are having a call to action to ensure that all stakeholders,both the parliamentarians and other agencies are called upon to embark on aggressive grassroots awareness creation. We want people to know that this has a great impact on their health and the economy” Anthony Negedo,deputy director with RMRDC and the President Mycotoxins society of Nigeria and the convener of the symposium said.
Ike Ubaka,the President of all farmers Association of Nigeria said:”We are permanent stakeholders with NAFDAC and Standard Organisation of Nigeria,SON,the ECOWAS secretariat and the AU.
Our major handicap on Agric trading has been fungus,and bacteria fungal effects. From harvests,deterioration sets in immediately. The way we accept things is not the way industrialized environment would accept it. When we package it,most times it is not well done. As a result,you even pay for the cleaning up of their environment,because they would claim their environment has been contaminated”
Nigeria must set regulatory limits for our people within the country and regulatory limits for exports,by so doing,public health is guaranteed and export rate is enhanced”Dele Fapohunda President of safe food and Feed foundation said.
He added that the symposium would ensure the right standards are maintained and we consumers comply and ask necessary questions before consuming these food items.
It would be noted that Federal Ministry of Health had earlier constituted food safety committee,and the food safety management commission and the Farmers Association of Nigeria are members in the commission to ensure standards are sustained regarding local consumption of our consumables and to forestall rejects of Nigeria goods in European markets.