Some agriculture experts on Tuesday warned against consumption of frozen chicken smuggled into the country, saying that its health hazards were numerous.
The experts gave the warning in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
An animal scientist, Mrs Mopeola Omotoso, said that the risks involved in consuming imported frozen chicken were multifaceted.
She advised Nigerians to eat locally-processed chicken which, she said, was fresh and had nutritional benefits.
“One is not sure of the age of the chicken being smuggled into the country. We don’t know how long they have been in the cold room in countries they were imported from.
“It is not fresh and its nutritional quality is questionable.
“A research recently conducted on imported chicken verified by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says some poisonous materials are being used in preserving imported frozen chicken,” she said.
The animal scientist added that consumption of locally-produced chicken would help to keep farmers in business and boost agriculture sector.
“We have an economic perspective when it comes to consuming smuggled frozen chicken.
“We are creating jobs for other people in other countries by eating their chicken and depriving our fellow Nigerians of business opportunities.
“The best thing is to encourage local production so that people can be engaged and make money,” Omotoso said.
Mr Joel Oduware, a poultry farmer and a member of the Lagos State Chapter of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), called for increased sensitisation of the masses to the dangers of consuming smuggled poultry.
“We have been enlightening Nigerians on the dangers of consuming harmful poultry products.
“The major challenge we have is that it is only the middle class and above that are taking cognisance of the dangers inherent in the consumption of imported chicken.
“The lower strata of the society does not see such dangers, as they look at the value to their pockets,” Oduware said.
An animal scientist and the National Vice-Chairman of PAN, Mr Olabode Adetoyi, also cautioned against consumption of smuggled frozen poultry.
“Consuming locally-processed chicken is the best; you can get all the proteins from it fresh.
“When a chicken has been killed for more than three to five months, and is being preserved, there is the tendency that it has lost the protein in it.
“Preservatives, such as formalin used for smuggled chicken, are same as those used for embalming a corpse; so, the chicken is embalmed.
“If you are eating frozen chicken, it is as good as going to a mortuary to eat some corpses,” Adetoyi warned. (NAN)