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NAFDAC probes ‘poisonous’ plantain chips allegation

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control says it is investigating a viral social media post alleging a woman fried plantain chips using oil adulterated with polythene.

In a statement on Saturday by NAFDAC’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, the agency said it was taking a science-based approach to verifying the claim before taking any action.

The agency assured citizens of its commitment to safeguarding public health amid the disturbing allegation.

According to the viral post, a woman allegedly melted about five pieces of “olonka rubber” (polythene) into oil before grating plantain to make chips.

The statement partly read, “The attention of the Management of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has been drawn to viral posts making the rounds on social media where an individual was reporting the alleged frying of plantain chips by a woman who “before she grated the plantain into the hot oil she melted about five of the white polythene what we call ‘olonka rubber’ into the oil.”

But NAFDAC noted that the post began circulating before the date the practice was supposedly observed, without indicating the geographical location.

“The agency is taking a science-based approach in her response to the alleged claim and will conduct necessary laboratory investigation into the claim. In the meantime, our advice to the public who consume NAFDAC regulated food products remains the same and centres around being vigilant as consumers,” the statement added.

It advised Nigerians buying NAFDAC-regulated food products to be vigilant and cautious.

The agency asked citizens to only purchase from reputable sources, while checking for NAFDAC registration numbers on product labels.

It also warned against products with suspicious packaging, objectionable smell/color, or unrealistically low prices.

“We reassure the public that NAFDAC is proactive in safeguarding health. Thorough investigation of the disturbing claim will be done,” the statement read.

The agency promised to get to the roots of the allegation and take action based on scientific findings.

Earlier, the Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency cautioned consumers of fried plantains popularly called “plantain chips” to be wary of any unwholesome practices in the processing of the plantains for sale.

This is in response to the same viral report on social media where the author claimed to have witnessed a woman melt polythene, also known as rubber or nylons, into the hot oil used for frying plantain for sale to harden the chips.

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