Danger-Cow Skin(Ponmo) Meat Dangerous For Health-A clarion call has gone to Nigerians to avoid a contaminated Cow-skin meat (Ponmo) which for long has been in circulation. Members of the public have been warned to avoid at all cost and should not allow the temptation of meat eating to draw them to buying the poisonous species, currently being made available across the country.
In Ogun State, Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Ronke Somefun during a meeting with Ponmo meat sellers Association in the state Capital, Abeokuta warned that the product has been discovered to contain poisonous toxic substance that is capable of causing serious damage to the body if eaten.
The Commissioner said investigations have revealed some unscrupulous businessmen have been taking advantage of meat scarcity the gap in demand and supply of the dried cow skin delicacy to make brisk business, mixing the toxic item with genuine ones.
She claimed the rise in demand has created a situation where some criminals are making available the contaminated product to make brisk business.
“Due to the rising demand, the businessmen started selling to unsuspecting buyers “industrial ponmo”, which was processed with tanning and skin-eating chemicals”.
“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 delicacy called “ponmo” and bought by unsuspecting members of the public for consumption.
”The government, being aware of the health implication 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 of the product as food of animal origin in the state,” she said.
She described the brand of the meat as often brownish black in colour, foul-smelling, and mostly abnormally thick with layered sections. The product are even made to be ridiculously cheap in price compared to the certified ones that are health-risk free edible ones.
She further disclosed that the cattle hides and skin which are being processed this way are raw hides that are meant for leather production in some African and European countries like Sudan, Italy and Japan.
“The ministry of Agriculture is collaborating with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, which has commenced investigation and placed a trail on the importer.
“In addition, we are in strategic liaisons with the public health department of the Ministry of Health and all environmental health departments of local government councils to confiscate such ponmo at our various markets,” she said.
Last April, Akwa Ibom government warned against the consumption of Ponmo, claiming the specie had resulted in cancer in many people.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Godwin Afangideh, said at a press conference in Uyo, the state capital, that the cow skin, often referred to in Igbo as Ikpa Ebola or had being the common cause of cancer and liver problems in the state.
The commissioner, who was represented at the briefing by the Director of Veterinary Services in the state, Dr. Obot Obot, said that the people who patronised cow skin were both exposed to cancer and liver problems as well as diarrhoea and hypertension, due to the high quantity of chemicals used for its preservation.
He said, “The state government, through the veterinary services directorate of the ministry, has embarked on a sensitisation campaign in some markets in the local government areas to talk to the people about the danger of consuming such meat.
“The veterinary officer, who was in charge of the sensitisation campaign, went to different markets and talked to the people on the imperatives of how to watch out for toxic meat following reports of its importation into the country.
“Cow skin meat, which is five times thicker than ordinary skin meat, is injected with a toxic substance called formalin used for its preservation. This formalin in the long run is capable of causing cancer and liver problems due to high concentration of salt used for their preservation.”
In the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Danger-Cow Skin(Ponmo) Meat Dangerous For Health-, Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Leather Science and Technology (NILEST) based in Zaria, Kaduna State had earlier warn against the consumption of animal hides and skin claiming that it was dangerous for people’s health.
Adamu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the consumption of the product as meat substitute was dangerous to health.
According to him, scientifically, ponmo does not have any nutritional value to human health.
“In fact, it is not advisable for you to consume ponmo in the sense that some of the animals killed and used for ponmo actually have skin diseases.
“Some of these skin diseases are such that boiling them ordinarily, may not kill the bacteria,’’ Adamu said.
He added that some of the animals killed had been ill and undergoing injections but the rearers don’t really care and proceed in killing them and processing them for consumption. leaving the buyers vulnerable to chemicals reaction and dangerous ailment.
“Some of the animals because of the ailments that they have gone through, are sometimes treated by way of injection with chemicals.
“The rearers don’t allow these chemicals to complete its cycle and be removed from the body; they sometimes go ahead to kill these animals.
“So, if you consume the ponmo, the tendency is that you are consuming the chemicals directly because the skin part of the animal retains most of the harmful substances.
He added: “Remember your skin is the major protective organ of your body and your skin harbours so many of the harmful things that are supposed to penetrate into your body, explaining that the skin of animals harbour so many of the harmful waste materials that the body secretes and boiling only could not remove some of those wastes.
The NILEST boss said the institute was putting up efforts to sensitise the public and advice governments on policies that will help to reduce the consumption of animal skin to the barest minimum.
According to him, ponmo consumption is a national and traditional issue that just putting up laws may not really help to stop it.
Adamu advised the government to come up with policies that could be enforced to reduce the consumption of hides and skin as meat substitute.
He added that this would enhance the quality and quantity of raw hides and skin that are available to meet the demands of the tanneries.