By Bassey Udo
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has warned Nigerians on the dangers of not parboiling their beans extensively before consumption.
The director general, Babatunde Irukera, said the warning became necessary after the agency received information that has already gone viral on reported use of sniper by retailers to preserve beans.
Mr Irukera’s warning was contained in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday.
He said consumers must make sufficient enquiries before engaging in new purchases of beans as available information at the weekend revealed retailers have already built a huge stock of commodity.
Apart from the cooking method and enquiries before purchase, the council said consumers must wash their food items sufficiently before cooking.
“In any and every case, thoroughly washing food items before consumption or preparation for consumption is a generally accepted method of protecting and promoting safety,” the statement said.
Also, the statement said the consumer protection agency recently confirmed credible information that retailers, mostly in the open market, were using a pesticide, 2,2-dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate (DDVP) compound, otherwise marketed and known as “Sniper” to preserve beans, ostensibly to eliminate or protect from weevils.
“Sniper, by its chemical composition and nature, is potentially injurious when human beings are unduly exposed by inhalation, absorption, direct skin contact or ingestion,” Mr Irukera said.
“The risk of injury on account of consumption of beans exposed to, or treated with Sniper is also existential, even though, an unintended consequence,” he added.
He cautioned further on the dangers of using unauthorised chemical to preserve food items. Although cooking significantly reduces risk of exposure from pesticides, as most are diminished under extended periods of direct heat in excess of 100 degrees, the DG said the best possible caution is to avoid subjecting food items to pesticides not in accordance with prevailing food safety regulations”.
To further mitigate possible dangers consumers could be exposed to, he said the Council was already collaborating with other relevant regulatory authorities to address the emergent dangerous situation.