FSQA DG Says High Spicy-salted Ingredients Mostly Causes Kidney Failure in Gambia


 By Mustapha Jallow

The Director General of the Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA) Mamodou Bah has revealed that the high usage of spicy-salted ingredients particularly salt, jumbo, sugar, and maggi in cooked food mostly cause kidney failure in the country amid growing kidney damage and related deaths.

DG Bah said, “The Gambia was not well known for kidney problems, but now we are the leader in this {kidney} problem. So, these are some of the things we need to educate our people, especially about the food they consume and the dangers of the additives in the food.”

He added: “These are some of the things poisoning us, and not about the expired products. It is about the food that we eat that is actually killing us. If you look at the kidney problems in the world, it is really growing.”

Bah made these remarks on September 11 at the FSQA head office along the Kairaba Avenue road, (Traffic Light) during a briefing with reporters, which according to the authority, aims to address critical food safety issues that have become grave concerns for people.  

He said food additives are concerns that they focus on while encouraging citizens to consume iodized salt with the authority pushing hard to make it a law that ensures all salt must be iodized.

The oil and the flour, he added, need to be fortified with vitamins and iron respectively to tackle the iron deficiency in this country.

Bah further said they are trying to reform the expiry juncture by focusing on curbing expiry products as they are closely working with the municipal police to have a better understanding of how to detect expiry products in the market.

He said the authority had also embarked on sensitizing market associations, prison cooks, and inmates on what it means to have safe food.  

“We visited the police barracks to ensure our police officers, hospital workers, and patients are also given safe food. We are so concerned about the safety of the public. We are not encouraging expired products for use and will not allow that to happen,’’ the food safety director said.

FSQA DG warns that actions would be taken against any person found with an expired product, saying the product will be confiscated on that spot and destroyed followed by a fine.

“If you are a repeat offender, we will fine or prosecute you,’’ he further warned.  

As an authority, according to him, they are mandated to remove all sources of risk, adding that they are concerned about both the safety and quality of food.  

“It is unlawful to sell expired food. And all expired foods are unsafe for consumption. Food poisoning is also killing many people – that is why as a food authority we do not allow it in the market,’’ he said, stating that usage of expired products has some health implications.

Meanwhile, FSQA’s data shows that from last year to date, five business entities were fined, 17 closed, eight prosecuted, and five mega disposals were carried out.

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