Scientists have raised the alarm over the risk posed by a fungus, Aflatoxin, to human health and food security in Nigeria.
They said Aflatoxin, staple food like maize, groundnut, melon, sorghum and others have been found to be responsible for liver damage and deaths.
According to them, exposure to the fungus which has toxic effects has been identified as a cause of liver cancer.
The fungus, they added, can also compromise the immunity and health of farm and laboratory animals.
The President of the Mycotoxicology Society of Nigeria, Dr. Olusegun Atanda, who is the lead consultant, countrywide assessment of Aflatoxin in Nigeria, under the partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa programme, said this during a meeting of the stakeholders.
Atanda, who doubles as the head of the Department of Food Services and Tourism, at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, said between five and 30 per cent of the 40 per cent of all liver cases in Africa could be traced to the effect of Aflatoxin.
He also said about five billion people in the developing world, including Nigeria, were exposed to the fungus which has already been classified by the International Cancer Research Institute as Class One human carcinogen.
“Acute severe exposure results in direct liver damage, illness or death. Chronic sub-lethal exposure affects nutrition, the immune system and the risk of cancer,” he said.
- Nigerian Eye