ALTHOUGH imported chickens and turkeys have become status symbol in Nigeria, the  National Agency for Food And Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC) has come out to strongly warn against the consumption of imported or smuggled frozen poultry   meat , even as it has said that imported poultry products, especially chicken and turkey have been discovered to be causative factor in  non- communicable diseases (NCDs) and antibiotics resistance.

NAFDAC Director General, Dr Paul Orhii, who gave the warning at media briefing in Lagos, urged Nigerians to avoid imported smuggled chickens and turkeys, because they have been found to contain substances that can predispose one to kidney, liver and lung diseases as well as certain types of cancers and drug resistant-bacterial infections.

Although imported foreign chicken, turkey and along with other frozen poultry meat have been banned by the Federal Government, some Nigerians have cultivated the habit of smuggling the banned poultry products into the country to the ‘delight’ of some Nigerians who do not know the health implications of consuming such products.

Orhii added that the studies have found out that most of the smuggled chicken into Nigeria contains high level of various deadly contaminants. Orhii said: “Our studies have found that most of these smuggled chickens or smuggled poultry products  may be because of the way they are transported or because they are not properly packaged, they contain some contaminants.

It can be formaldehyde, at times it can be high level of antibiotics residue and other contaminants like heavy metals that may cause toxicity-related mutagenesis (mutation), carcinogenesis (cancer) and other severe health hazards. Others (result of heavy metals) are cardiovascular diseases, skin disorders, and neurotoxicity lung and nasal cancer in humans, “And that is why we are discouraging members of the public from consuming them.

According to Tewe, a nutritional toxicologist, who led the research team that discovered that foreign poultry products contain harmful toxic substance, the sample for the study on “imported (smuggled) frozen poultry carcasses were obtained from wholesalers and retailers in Lagos, Ibadan, Port-Harcourt and Abuja,” and “analysed for heavy metals, microbial status and meat quality parameters.” 

The nutritional toxicologist said the analysed smuggled or imported poultry food were found to be unsafe for consumption, adding that the continuous consumption of imported chicken and turkey could damage the human system on the long run, unlike other poultry products that are locally produced.