The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control has warned that eating washed up aquatic animals is like eating the remains of a cow found on the road.
The Director, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Mr. Sheriff Olagunju, gave the warning during an interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday.
Olagunju said eating an animal whose cause of death is unknown could have negative health implications for the consumer.
A whale was reported to have been swept to the shores of a beach in Okpoama and Onyekia communities in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Responding to a question, the NAFDAC director said, “It is dangerous eating an animal whose cause of death is not known. It could have been killed by chemical poisoning, contamination or anything. It could also contain a lot of contaminants.
“It is just like seeing a dead cow on the road ad cutting its meat and eating it.”
Olagunju lamented the proclivity of some Nigerians towards ‘free things’ even to the detriment of their health.
He compared the rush for the washed up whale to the struggle to scoop petrol from a fallen tanker without thinking of the risks.
“Even when you warn some Nigerians about the risks, they remain adamant. Just like the way they rush to scoop fuel from a fallen tanker despite all warnings,” the NAFDAC director said.
According to Humane Society, a health journal, environmental contaminants such as pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) tend to accumulate in the bodies of sea mammals such as whales. Eating fish as contaminated as this means one is exposing one’s self to poison.
The contaminants in the whale meat and blubber (fat) increase the consumers’ risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, hypertension and arteriosclerosis.
Unborn babies who are exposed to methyl mercury in seafood such as whale meat risk developing cognitive deficiencies such as delays in all areas of development, including language and walking; inability to take to toilet training, development of heart defects, abnormal brain development, etc.