FG says 25% of diseases in Nigeria caused by mycotoxins
The Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, has said that 25 per cent of diseases in Nigeria are caused by mycotoxins.
Ikeazor said this in Abuja at a two-day workshop on the prevention and control of mycotoxins in food and environment organised by the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON)
Mycotoxins are toxic compounds that are naturally produced by certain types of moulds (fungi). They can grow on foodstuffs such as cereals, nuts, spices and more.
Ikeazor noted that there are increase adverse health effects of mycotoxins on occupants of residential, office buildings, schools, agricultural and non-agricultural settings including food and food products in Nigeria.
The minister who was represented by her Special Adviser Dr Priscilla Achakpa charged environmental health experts to take sensitization campaign to local communities on the danger of consuming food products contaminated with mycotoxins.
She urged that the campaign be targeted at the farmers at the grassroots so they can be educated and informed on the occurrence, effects of mycotoxins in food and the environment.
She stressed that the exposure to moulds and their toxic mycotoxins in food and environment poses great risk to human health.
“We must all be worried about the risk of environmental exposures experienced by those that consume or are exposed to food and food products that are contaminated with mycotoxins.
“ The ingestion of mycotoxin through food and inhalation of mycotoxins and other contaminants in the air might result in lung damage, allergic reactions such as irritation in the respiratory tract, eyes, and skin, and sometimes headaches.
“Exposure to all these contaminants could have harmful effects on vital organs and consequently on the overall human health and productivity,’’ she said.
The minister therefore, charged the environmental health officers to educate people on the negative effects of moulds and mycotoxins contamination in their environment.
She further charged participants of the workshop to rub minds and come up with skills to monitor and detect safety risks associated with exposure to mycotoxin contamination and measure to contain it.
Dr Yakubu Baba, Registrar, EHORECON stated that mycotoxtin was a public health responsibility accounting to about 25 per cent of diseases in the country.
Baba said the council was preparing its practitioners to go out with adequate knowledge to enlighten the public on the negative effects of mycotoxins in food and environment.
The workshop according to him will help reduce mortality and incidences of mycotoxins in the communities as well as providing the mobility of Nigeria’s farm products to the international market.
“This will have value additional services as it will enhance our economy and it is also tailored towards the President Muhammadu Buhari vision of food security.
“It will also provide platforms where the youths are going to be engaged and take them out of poverty. So, it also has security solutions.
“The environmental health practitioners drawn from the sector of food industry and food inspection will scale down this training to various communities so that people can be enlightened in the way to store their food and process the food for consumption in a safer way,” he concluded. (NAN)