By Chukwuma Umeorah
Despite the ban on importation of tomato pastes, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has raised the alarm over the volume of imported and unregistered tomato pastes into the Nigerian market.
The regulatory agency saddled with the protection of public health said that the consumption of imported and unregistered tomato pastes was unhealthy for consumers. The Agency attributed the influx of these tomato pastes in the market to the activities of in the selfish businessmen who prioritise personal gains over public health. It said their action was detrimental to local manufacturers and the economy.
Director of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, and Chairman of Federal Task Force, NAFDAC, Kingsley Ejiofor, said surveillance carried out revealed that local stores as well as supermarkets and open markets in the country were filled with unhealthy imported and unregistered tomato pastes.
He said before the ban in 2019, a study carried out involving laboratory analysis of tomato content of sample brands from major markets in Lagos revealed that over 90 per cent of imported tomato paste were substandard and unhealthy for consumption.
Ejiofor advised the public to desist from patronising counterfeit and unregistered products and report suspicions to NAFDAC and other relevant authority.
“The ban placed on imported and unregistered canned tomato pastes should, in no small measure, curb a lot of health challenges. There are reports of tinned tomato pastes with more sugar content than the recommended body intake; nearly eight grammes per can, which is almost a third of what an average adult needs.
“Also of great concern is the high acidic nature in some of these food particles that may cause Biphenyl A (BPA) to leach out over time. This is especially true if the can is scratched, dented or damaged in any way and may result in an increased risk of cancer for regular consumers of the canned products.”