Nigerians have been warned of the existence of toxic beans in the market. Indeed, the Environmental Health Officers’ Registration Council (EHORECON) on Thursday, publicly destroyed 48 bags of beans it discovered to be unfit for human consumption in Bwari Area Council, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Mr. Augustine Ebisike, Registrar, EHORECON, disclosed at a news briefing that the destruction was as a result of a report to the council that a woman had in her possession bags of beans mixed with a toxic chemical called ‘Gamalin 20.’ Ebisike, who spoke after an enforcement tour in collaboration with the Environmental Health Department at Bwari Area Council in Abuja said “Gamalin 20” is a toxic chemical used mainly to preserve farm produce for planting.” He said the toxic chemical was discovered at the laboratory to be too much in the beans and that if consumed could be dangerous to human health and could lead to death.
Ebisike said the accused had been charged to court and convicted but penalties would be stated after the destruction of the beans. He appealed to the Federal Government to restore the laboratories where health officers could collect the samples and take the items for analysis.
Ahmed Labaran, Head of Environmental Health Department, Bwari Area Council said that samples of the beans was taken to NAFDAC office in Kaduna for laboratory test. Labaran said the owner of the shop was arrested and charged to a mobile Magistrate Court at the area council which gave an order for the produce to be destroyed before penalty could be stated.
“Before we could apprehend the owner of the beans, we had to pretend that we wanted to buy bags of beans, and then she agreed to go and open the shop where they got the samples from.
“When we saw Gamalin in her shop we asked her if she was aware that it is dangerous to human health, and then we told her who we were and got her arrested,” he said.
He said that the council did not encourage the use of chemicals to preserve food but if the need arose, it referred the matter to the Ministry of Agriculture to recommend the chemical to be used.
Labaran added that the ministry would educate them on how to use it and the type of produce each chemical was used for.
Mrs. Veronica Obori, the accused, said she was not aware that the chemical was dangerous for human consumption. Obori said she was aware that people use the chemical to preserve beans to make profitable sales and she was never told it could be harmful to human health.
“I travel all the way to Kontagora to buy these beans and it was there that they told me to use gamalin to preserve the beans and after seven months it is safe for consumption,” she said.
She therefore appealed to those who use gamalin to preserve beans to stop the use as it was dangerous to public health.