Eating Foods Preserved With Formaldehyde Can Lead to Cancer … Dr. Isaiah Okere

A Nigerian scientist, Dr. Isaiah Okere, of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, has warned citizens, to be wary of eating foods, especially meat products, preserved with formaldehyde.


According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), report on Monday, Dr. Okere said, formaldehyde, same as formalin, used for food preservations, is meant for preserving human corpses; and should not be used under any guise, for food preservation.


Dr. Isaiah Okere emphasized that, foods preserved with formalin are carcinogenic, capable of causing cancer of the kidney, liver, lungs. He said, such foods can be easily identified in the market, because they are stiff in nature, and odourless in taste when cooked.


Explaining further, the Doctor said, to know fresh stocks, in this case, meat, ‘one should examine the colour. Red meat, to the Scientist, should be bright red.


Okere stressed that, if meat springs back nicely, while firmly pressed, it is an indication that the meat is fresh. But if it loses it firmness, and with any form of foul smell, it shows that the quality of the meat has been compromised. ‘Meat should never smell like bleach, ammonia or anything foul’, he said.


“It is advisable to purchase meat and fish products when they are fresh, and have the meaty or fishy smell characteristics, Dr. Okere submitted.


Scientist Okere further recommended that, meat products should be thoroughly washed under running water, and well-cooked, before it can be fit for human consumption.


“Meat should be cooked thoroughly before consumption, because, temperatures of 75°C or above, aid removal of formaldehyde.


Educating the public, the Doctor said, refrigerating/freezing, drying, smoking are ways meat products could be preserved, other than using carcinogenic substances or chemicals.


He counseled that, despite that refrigerating/ freezing meat is advisable, but leaving fresh meat refrigerated for more than 5-7 days; is not ideal; and in situations of inadequate power supply, the refrigerated life of meat products should not be more than 2-3 days.

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