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Frozen Poultry Products: Vet Doctor Warns against Consumption of Unwholesome Meat

LAGOS —  An Abuja-based veterinary practitioner, Dr Victor Nwachukwu, on Monday warned against the consumption of poorly preserved frozen poultry products to avoid the associated health dangers.   Nwachukwu gave the warning against the back drop that the cold chain of most smuggled frozen poultry products had been broken making them unwholesome.   

Nigerians, apparently had been smuggling into the country frozen poultry products, especially through the land boarders, a situation that have these products outside the refrigeration units for days.   The development often left some of the products decaying before they get to the cold stores from where they are sold to the consumers.   With the enforcement of the ban on the products, consumers have expressed fear that the die-hard smugglers would continue to bring into the country these unwholesome products.   

It is believed that when the cold chain is broken such products are left to the vagaries of the reaction between weather and the preservation chemical which often contaminates them.   Nwachukwu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that putrefying and entero-toxic strains of bacteria species could infest poultry products if the cold chain was broken.   “Basically, a break in the cold chain might result in a build-up of microbial loads which could be pathogenic and if ingested, may pose health risks to consumers.   “If refrigeration is terminated for two to five days and above, such poultry meat could begin to decay and overtaken by putrefying and entero-toxic strains of bacteria species,’’ he said.   Nwachukwu also told NAN that chemically preserved frozen poultry products might cause cardiovascular diseases.   

He told NAN that if the chemical was toxic, it could lead to many other diseases such as induction of respiratory problems (diseases or syndromes).   He added that diseases such as neuro-toxic might affect the urino-genital gastrointestinal and musculo-skeletal systems.   “It may be difficult to name just one chemical as chemicals are best known by the companies or processing plants that use them for preserving frozen poultry products.   “There have been reports that chemicals have been used but I am not aware of any specific name; however, if these chemicals are toxic as assumed, then the effects on humans could be among many.   “Neuro-toxic, induction of respiratory problems (diseases or syndromes) may affect the urino-genital, lymphatic, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and musculo-skeletal systems,’’ he said.   On the best methods to preserve frozen poultry products, the veterinary doctor said that processing companies should apply global operations standard of ISO19001 (quality control).   According to him, this depends on the industry’s operations and quality control processes and procedures.   “Every processor applies independent or statutory standards and some operators utilise the globally accepted ISO19001.   “Poultry meat will need extreme freezing by refrigeration (requires adequate power supply). Poultry meat could also be dry fried with skin removed in cholesterol-free oil.   “For eggs, crates (plastic or carton materials) for packaging kept in cool dry and airy places. 

They must be protected from predators such as monitor lizards and snakes,’’ he said.   Nwachukwu said the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) should be more active in the quality control for consumption of poultry products. (NAN)

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