Scientists blame kidney, liver problems on contaminated food

By The Citizen

Scientists, under the aegis of Mycotoxicology Society of Nigeria (MSN), have blamed increasing cases of kidney and liver failures on consumption of fungal contaminated food.

They also revealed that about 25 per cent of foods produced across the world are affected by Mycotoxin.

Speaking on the theme: 'Mycotoxin Hazards, Management and its Regulation in Nigeria', at the just concluded 8th Annual Conference and Workshop, held at the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, the President of the association, Dr. Olusegun Atanda, attributed the increase in fungal contaminated foods to poor storage methods used in many African nations where there are lots of moisture.

He pointed out that Africa is prone to a lot of hazards from Mycotoxin, because food items, like yams, tomatoes, potatoes and many others, are easily exposed to contamination when stored in moisturised places, which make them get moulds and other fungi.

The hazard of eating food contaminated with Mycotoxin, according to him, includes damage to kidney, liver and immune suppressions.

He urged the general public to always avoid eating yams, tomatoes, potatoes, all tubers, and other foods that are often stored until they get contaminated with Mycotoxin. He warned that even cooking them would not prevent kidney and or liver disorders.

According to Atanda, Mycotoxins are secondary metabolite of fungi produced on agricultural produce during processing and storage up to when they are consumed.

He said the association has been working hard to create awareness on Mycotoxins and their effects on food security and human health since it was founded in 2006.

Atanda urged the United Nations to declare a 'World Mycotoxins Day' because of the danger it poses to humans and animals. He noted that this would allow more people to know about the danger and how to prevent it.

The Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Mrs. Theresa Akande, in her address, said: 'In total ignorance, we ordinarily mistook the greenish patches on food, e.g. maize, sweet and Irish potatoes to be bad or immature portions, which many do not care to remove because it is not known that they are infestation by germs that could not be killed by burning or cooking for an appreciable period of time.'

The Ekiti State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Babajide Arowosafe, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Abegunde, said hosting the 8th conference was timely because the state government is carrying out its 8-Point Agenda, which includes modern agriculture.    He advised members of the Mycotoxicology Society to continue to carry out more researches on Mycotoxin and come out with solutions that will help improve agricultural products.