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Thursday, 27 November 2014

Ebola: FG cautions against smuggling of frozen chicken

Nigerians involved in the illegal smuggling of frozen chicken should desist from it as this could bring back the Ebola Virus Disease to the country, the Federal Government has warned.

According to the government, frozen chicken has continued to find its way into local markets through land borders in spite of the ban on the importation of poultry and its products.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Federal Department of Animal Production and Husbandry Services, in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Abuja.

The statement quoted the United States Academic Decathlon Agricultural Information Network to have stated 90 per cent of frozen chicken in Nigeria came in through the Republic of Benin and other West African countries.

It blamed the decline in consumption of local chicken, jobs provided by the poultry industry and decrease of national income generated from the poultry sub-sector on the illegal trade.

It said the sale of frozen chicken had become a source of livelihood for some Nigerians, but stressed that its continuous consumption posed great health risk to consumers.

Some factors put forward by nutritionists as contributing to the health risk posed by the product include the length of storage of frozen chicken before reaching Nigeria.

The statement added that the quality was usually very low due to the break in cold chain during several hours of land journey in Nigeria through illegal route and absence of quality certification or standard of instruments used.

It said that besides the above factors, the recent outbreak of EVD in some West African countries had shown that the handling of these products could transmit the disease.

According to the statement, people handling these frozen chickens are not known and there are no checks on the storage facility and the mode of transport used.

It also claimed that the deaths caused by EVD and burial places might not have been properly reported in some of these West African countries.


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