Some consultant physicians, Prof. Essy Isah and Dr Gani Owoeye, have advised farmers to stop using human and animal faeces as organic manure on their farms.
The experts from the Centre for Disease Control, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), gave the advice in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on this year’s World Health Day.
They said the use of organic manure was unhygienic, warning that harmful micro-organisms present in the human and animal faeces could enter the food items and contaminate them. According to Isah, the theme for this year’s World Health Day is ‘Food Security: From Farm to Plate; Make Food Safe’. “Food borne illnesses are usually infectious in nature and they can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances that enter the body through contaminated food or water.
“From production to the point that food get into the human system, we have to safeguard it. “Food borne and water borne diseases kill an estimated two million people annually; in Nigeria nearly 10.2 per cent of deaths are due to diarrhoea.” She also decried the use of carbide to ripen fruits and use of printed materials to wrap cooked food items, saying that inks are poisonous.
The consultant also warned against roasting of food items by the road sides to avert blowing of air into their cellophane before consumption. According to her, meat conveyed in wheelbarrows and pickup vehicles are exposed to contaminants.
Corroborating his colleague, Owoeye said humans could also get infected from food stuffs emanating from farms where faeces had been used as fertiliser. He called for proper storage of both cooked and raw foods, saying that not all micro-organisms could be killed by the cooking temperature.
The consultant also urged farmers to use improved fertiliser henceforth, saying they are easily accessible and affordable.