Consumers, food vendors and lovers of fish have decried the influx of fake Mackerel fish popularly known as Titus fish in circulation across Nigerian markets.
The consumers who spoke with Daily Sun lamented that the fake Titus fish surfaced in markets around May and July last year but the quantity was not as much as it is today in the markets.
The consumers said for the past two months, importers of Titus fish have concentrated more in bringing in more fake Titus into the country in order to maximise profits.
They said the Titus fish is one of the most expensive fishes in the market as one is being sold for about N500 and above and lamented that the Titus fish available in frozen foods outlets today are no longer the same fish they used to buy, as it is now tasteless and no longer nutritious.
While Daily Sun visited some of the popular markets in Lagos, including Oyingbo, Mushin, Isolo and Mile 12 markets, consumers urged the Federal Government set up a task force on frozen fish importation that will be visiting coldrooms regularly especially across the major markets in the country the same way Customs is doing on smuggled rice.
They also want the Department of Fishery under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to sweep into action by clamping down on the importers bringing in the fake Titus fish into the market.
A food vendor, Mrs. Janet Adebiyi, who spoke with Daily Sun, said that, “for the past one month, my customers are complaining about the taste of the Titus fish I have been cooking. So since the beginning of this month, I have stopped cooking it because I don’t want to lose my money and lose my customers.”
Mrs. Adebiyi said that original Titus fish is very scarce in the markets these days, adding that what distributors of the fish have in their cold-rooms is not original Titus.
According to another consumer, Loveth Madubuko, Titus is one of the most nutritious fishes with a lot of health benefits. But she said the Titus in the market today is not nutritious and does not have taste anymore. She said the Titus fish presently in circulation across major markets in the country could be hazardous to health.
Mrs. Khadijat Lasis said it is worrisome that one can no longer get original Titus fish to buy in the markets, noting that those buying the fish today are wasting money and buying poison.
She said: “I love Titus fish because of the taste and its skin but what we see in the market today is something else. The last time I cooked the fish, the sweetness is no longer there. My brother I couldn’t really explain what it tasted like. We want government to do something before they kill us with fake fish in Nigeria.”