Ogun govt raises alarm over toxic hides skin in markets
The government said some unscrupulous businessmen were taking advantage of the gap in demand and supply of cattle hides to start selling “industrial Ponmo laden with tanning chemicals to the unsuspecting public in the State.”
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs. Ronke Sokefun raised the alarm, yesterday, while addressing stakeholders and ‘Ponmo’ sellers in her office, in Abeokuta.
Sokefun explained that the toxic hides skin otherwise known as ‘imported ponmo’ is often brownish black, foul smelling, abnormally thick with layered sections and ridiculously cheap in price compared to the certified ponmo.
According to her, the cattle hides and skin are raw hides that are meant for leather production from foreign African and European countries like Sudan, Italy and Japan.
“Tanning chemicals like biocides and fungicides are added along the processing chain to preserve the hides against protein degradation, bacteria and mould growth that would have damaged the hides and skin.
“The raw hides are later processed into the local relish called “Ponmo” liked by all and bought by unsuspecting members of the public for consumption.
“The government, being aware of the health implications of the consumption of this imported hides and skin considers it important to enlighten the public on the danger inherent in the consumption and prevent further sales.
“The Ministry of Agriculture is collaborating with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which has commenced investigation and placed a trail on the importer.
“In addition, we are in strategic liaison with the public health department of the Ministry of health and all environmental health departments of the local government councils to confiscate such Ponmo at our various markets”, she said .