HealthThe Stethoscope

Poisonous food in Nigeria: Who cares?

Chinese food

A chap went to the Chinese local store in Shanghai, China to buy food stuff. A Nigerian, who had been in China for many years and had some understanding of the language. While picking things from the shelf, a Chinese indigene came in and went to buy things from the same shelf.

Suddenly, the Chinese shopkeeper stopped him. He told him in the local language not to buy from that side of the shop, since the foods were for the tourist trade. In other words, not of good quality! Not good for the local but can be bought by other people who the Chinese consider as subclass citizens.

The Chinese have been known and shown to substitute rat meat for chicken and many other incredible practices. You do need to be very careful when interacting with them.


There has been reports of Plantains being ripened with Cadmium. Cadmium is a chemical element with symbol Cd and atomic number 48. This soft, bluish-white metal is chemically similar to the two other stable metals in group 12, namely zinc and mercury. Same as Mercury and Zinc, Cadmium is toxic to the human body.

Eating food or drinking water with very high cadmium levels severely irritates the stomach, leading to vomiting and diarrhea. If the build-up of cadmium is high enough, it will damage the kidneys, and sometimes lead to death. Symptoms of inflammation may start hours after the exposure and include cough, dryness and irritation of the nose and throat, headache, dizziness, weakness, fever, chills, and chest pain.

Plantains treated with Cadmium can lead to serious health issues in Nigeria. You need to be aware of these and seek for signs of forced ripening of the plantain. Better to buy unripe plantain and store in your own house.


Recently, a woman posted online a video purportedly showing that she bought fake dried peppered beef in Lokoja. The food was made of rubber. Unbelievable! How can someone go to such extra length of making fake beef disguised as Kilishi? How dubious and extremely diabolical? How much effort would that have required? Effort, time and money that could have been better spent making the real thing!

We have heard about fake malt drinks and fake plastic rice. There are of course many more and behooves us all to be extra vigilant. Cancer of the stomach and colon is on the rise in Nigeria. The rising incidence of cancer and other serious diseases may be because of this plastic and other poisons creeping into the food chain.

Plastic apples

Apples are coated with a plastic material to make them shiny and look good to eat. If you do not know you’d be eating plastic with your apple.


The real question is who cares about all of these? Is there a government agency actively researching, investigating and exposing these practices to create awareness in the public? The answer is a resounding NO! The Nigerian government and its agencies have abdicated their duties to the well being of the country. Especially, with the upcoming elections, Nigerians have been left to fend for themselves and protect themselves from these dangerous businessmen, who have no conscience.


You should!

YOU need to be really careful out there!

Dr Biodun Ogungbo, MBBS, FRCS, FRCSEd, MSc, a Contributor to Newspackng, is a neurosurgeon with Brain and Surgery Consortium at 8 Buchanan Crescent, Off Aminu Kano Street, Wuse 2, Abuja.


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