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Producing ‘Fufu’ with hypo, detergents callous, wicked –Medical experts

Producing ‘Fufu’ with hypo, detergents callous, wicked –Medical experts

By Kemi Olatunde Jimoh Ahmed & Sade Adewale
Medical experts have flayed the practice by Fufu producers (a local dish) mixing hypo and detergents with cassava for it to ferment and swell, describing it as callous and an act of wickedness.

Physician in Charge (PIC), UNIMED teaching hospital, Akure complex, Dr. Adesina Akintan and other medical practitioners in the state stated that consuming such fufu is harmful to health, noting that both hypo and detergent are not to be digested as “it will cause all kinds of health challenges.”

Describing hypo specifically as a sterilising agent, he said; “we use hypo in the hospital to sterilise equipment and for anyone to add it to food, it is totally callous and act of wickedness.”

Investigation by The Hope recently discovered that many fufu producers not only in Ondo State, but also in Ekiti, Osun and other states are found of the practice with motive to make more profit.

This has been leading many unsuspecting consumers having medical challenges.

Speaking extensively with The Hope at the Accident and Emergency unit of Akure complex UNIMED teaching hospital, Dr. Oluwasayo Motunrayo stated that patients with food poisoning has been recorded in the hospital in recent times but they are always being managed as patients of gastroenteritis.

According to him; “we are hearing for the first time that most of the people that process fufu mix hypo and detergent with it to make it rise.

” We have history of patients coming around with food poisoning of recent but we can’t ascertain what is happening. “

He described intestinal instability in the intestinal tract as one of the effects of  hypo and detergent injection noting that patients can be presented with constipation or gastroenteritis which is difficulty in the passage of stool or watery stool.

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Speaking further, he said; “the patient will also be vomiting and if care is not taken, such patient may pass out.

“When there is persistent occurrence of detergent and hypo which are harmful chemicals, it can lead to damage of organs in the body especially liver and kidney which are actually long term manifestation.

“It can affect other organs too; in fact the whole digestive tract is affected.”

However, he stressed the need for all to prepare their food by themselves in order to enjoy better health, noting that they should only get food outside their homes if they are sure of the source.

Speaking with a doctor who doesn’t wants his name in print at the General Hospital Okitipupa, he described ‘pupuru’ as the major food of people of the southern senatorial district, noting that it is uncommon to have food poisoned patients in the hospital.

Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association in the state, Dr. Wale Oke, who could not but exclaimed on hearing about the development, berated the activities of some fufu processors noting that it is harmful to the health of the people saying, “the combination of chemicals added to cassava is poisonous when taken.”

The Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) UNIMEDTH, Dr Michael Gbala also described the use of hypo, detergent and potash to soak fufu as evil.

He said hypo is a bleaching agent and also corosive, which is not suppose to be consumed.

His words: “It is unfortunate that people will go to that extent in the name of money making. All these materials are not meant to be consumed. Detergent is soap, imagine somebody eating soap indirectly, this can affect the inner lining of the gout and some of the substance have corosive effect on the lining of the intentine”, he added.

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CMAC chairman enjoined people to be careful on what they eat, also where they get them and make sure they are clean.

On his part, Head, Business Development and Marketing, Ondo State Contributory Health Commission, Dr. Tolu Ademujimi explained that taking large quantity of chemicals can have negative effect on the body.

He said; “the important factor which determines whether a chemical will cause poisoning is the amount of the chemical entering the body and that is why taking too much of a chemical into the body causes toxicity.

“Those who consume the combination of these chemicals in large quantity will have their stomachs and intestines affected which may lead to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea among others.”

However, he stated that there has not been clear study on the major side effects.

A medical doctor, Badmus Ibitayo has warned that adding any foreign object during food processing could lead to food poisoning as those objects may contain poisons or poisonous chemicals.

Ibitayo, a private medical practitioner in Ikare Akokodisclosed that some food processors do this ignorantly but it is dangerous as many have died without knowing.

According to him, there was an occasion when a family of four was rushed to his clinic after taking a meal of cassava flower known as amala in local parlance.

He blamed the situation on the ignorance of the sellers who try to preserve their products against insects but were not aware of the dangerous effects.

Ibitayo did not however rule out the presence of poisonous fufu in the markets since the producers are also conscious of making more money and out of their callousness may do anything to attain this.

He therefore called for a close monitoring of foods on sale in our markets by the appropriate government agencies.

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Meanwhile The Hope visited some markets and fufu making centres in Ikare and Arigidi Akoko to ascertain this.

At the popular Oja Oba in Ikare Akoko where fufu sellers abound, the showering rain prevented sellers to display their products.

One of the women, disclosed that they do not process the fufu but they always go to Supare Akoko to buy them and resell.

She told The Hope that since they have been selling the product nobody has complained.

When told that there are some poisonous fufu in the market, she simply said it is not in Ikare.

At Okela, Ikare Akoko, a woman who is simply identified as Iya Silifa who process fufu denied the availability of poisonous fufu in her environment.

She disclosed that making fufu require a good knowledge about its processing.

Iya Silifa posited that one does not need to add any chemical for it to ferment.

According to her, to get a well fermented cassava, one just need to soak it with water from the well. She disclosed that rain water, because of some chemicals in it will not allow cassava to ferment well.

She stated that cassava to be used in fufu making should be packed in a well covered container and well covered.

The sixty year old woman said she has been in the business of fufu processing for the past ten years and has used the proceeds to train two of her children at the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic without support from her husband.

At Arigidi Akoko, where a cottage fufu factory exists, the owner of the factory, Mr Chuks Johnson, an Ibo man told The Hope that when fufu are with odour customers will not patronise it.““

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