Tasty Tom the New Nigerian Killer

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While Nigeria is yet to get over the large number of death of children, caused by the fake teething mixture (My Pikin), another killer product has surfaced in the Nigerian market, reports Friday’s publication of the privately-owned Vanguard newspaper.

The newest killer in the market is a fake tomato paste, called Tasty Tom.

According to the Vanguard, the Lagos State government in South West Nigeria, has impounded over 20,000 cans of Tasty Tom.

The National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUBFTE) has also raised the alarm over attempts to flood the Nigerian market with harmful vegetable oil and related products.

The tins of fake tomato paste were impounded at the Ipaja-Ayobo area of the state, according to the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who told journalists that the fake product was discovered by the State Task Force on Fake Drugs in an abandoned building following a tip off.

Two men were subsequently arrested in connection with the fake tomato paste, according to the paper which quoted the commissioner as saying “the recovered cans were actually expired product re-canned by the suspects and sold to unsuspecting consumers.”

He added that its consumption was dangerous to health and could lead to death, noting that: “This fake product which was being repackaged in an uncompleted building has a fake expiry date of 2009 and NAFDAC registration no: X1-0511.”

The Commissioner explained that the state government had intimated NAFDAC, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, of the development and that the Police had commenced investigation to discover other outlets of the alleged criminals and their sharp practices.

“NAFDAC has just been informed, aside that, since NAFDAC official is part of the task force, we believe NAFDAC would take it up from there,” he said.

The NAFDAC discovery of a batch of My Pikin as a killer drug prompted the state government to move into various drug markets in the state with a view to uncovering other dangerous drugs and foods, the paper quoted Idris as saying.

“We are happy to note that we have not found any other drug wanting in the expected minimum standards,” he said.

The NUBFTE is asking appropriate government agencies, especially NAFDAC, to be on the alert and ensure that harmful vegetable oil and related products are not allowed to enter the Nigerian market because of their health implications.

On the issue of the fake vegetable oil, President of NUFBTE, Comrade Lateef Oyelekan, called on government to place a ban on the importation of vegetable oil and related products, arguing that Nigeria had the capacity to meet both the local need and that of the Western African sub-region.

He said: “We have it on good authority that some unscrupulous Nigerian businessmen and importers have imported harmful vegetable oil and other related products meant for the coming festive periods – the Sallah, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

“We are using this opportunity to alert Nigerians and relevant government agencies to be on the look out for these imports billed to arrive Nigeria before the coming Sallah, Christmas and New Year’s festivities.

“We are specifically calling on NAFDAC to be extra vigilant and save Nigerians the negative health implications of consuming harmful vegetable oil and related products once they are in the Nigerian market.

“Information available to us has it that the imported vegetable oil is made from animals and is mostly used for cosmetics which is dangerous for human consumption.

“Our investigation has revealed that one of the health implications of the consumption of the vegetable oil is cancer.”

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