The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on Tuesday warned Nigerians against using grinding machine to grind vegetables.
Ogbeh, who gave the warning at the launching and National Dissemination of Food and Nutrition Policy in Abuja, said that the machine was not good for such purpose.
According to him, the machines which are being used to grind tomatoes, pepper and other vegetables, contain some elements which were harmful to the body.
“The elements in those machines are produced in ordinary steel not stainless steel. As a result of that, a great deal of granules get into our food.
“These granules are very poisonous to the liver and kidneys; no wonder cases of liver and kidney diseases in the country are on the increase.’’
Ogbeh also advised Nigerians not to use cellophane bags (nylon) to package foods and water.
Using `moi-moi’ as an example, he said that the food becomes poisonous when prepared and packaged in nylon bags.
According to him, cellophane bags contain a large dosage of dioxins that are harmful to health.
He advised lovers of moi-moi to use the traditional wrapping leaves rather than cellophane, adding that leaves do not contain such poisonous substance.
In addition, the minister said beans and grains preserved with polythene bags could also be harmful, being stored at a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius.
He also said that the consumption of sachet water (pure water) exposed to over 28 degree Celsius temperature was dangerous for drinking.
Ogbeh further urged Nigerians to eat balanced diet.
“Our diets are heavily carbohydrate and too much of it is not good for human nutrition.
“We should include vegetables and fruits in our diets to increase our nutrients,’’ Ogbeh said.
In his remarks, Dr Benjamin Loevinsohn, a Nutrition Specialist with World Bank, urged stakeholders to champion the National Policy on Food and Nutrition (NPFN).
Loevinsohn said that it would require persistent and good management to implement the policy and advised the Federal Government to allocate money to ensure effective implementation of the policy.
Also speaking, Prof. Ngozi Nnam, President, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, decried the alarming malnutrition rate in the country.
Nnam noted that policy makers were not aware of the importance of nutrition in national development and heavy toll of malnutrition on infants and children.
“There is no budget line for nutrition in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to address nutrition issues.
“There is serious lack of information on nutrition, its importance on the health of individuals, as well as national and economic development,’’ she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the launch of NPFN was part of activities to mark the maiden edition of Nutrition Week.
The theme of the week is “Nutrition: Key to Sustainable Development.’’
Other activities scheduled for the week include symposium and Nutrition Walk holding on Wednesday and Saturday respectively.