The Director of Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA) Momodou Bah has warned all fish processors, distributors, and vendors to desist from the use of chemicals on fish and other food products to avoid a breach of the law.
This caution was followed as a result of an investigation made by the (FSQA) and partners which have proven that Sniper, Permethrin, Abamectin, Cypermethrin and Bifenthrin were actually used on the samples sent to a Senegalese laboratory.
The investigation revealed that the Sniper (Dichlorvos) and 4 other pesticides were detected in smoked-fish samples from the Gambia taken and tested in Dakar during an allegation that some women in the fish business industry used the pesticide in processing the product.
A total of 57 fish samples were collected from 7 fish landing sites and markets within the Greater Banjul Area, from the main sample, 11 fish samples were randomly selected as subsamples for analysis at Ceres Locustox Laboratory in Dakar, Senegal to determine the presence of pesticides.
In a joint press conference on Friday, Mr. Momodou Bah, Director of Food Safety and Quality Authority said the result of the analysis indicated that the presence of Sniper (Dichlorvos) and four other insecticide products (namely; Permethrin, Abamectin, Cypermethrin, and Bifenthrin) are the high residual concentration of Dichlorvos (Sniper) in the samples collected from Bakoteh fish market with a concentration of 9.18 mg/kg.
“The presence of other insecticides (Permethrin, Abamectin, Cypermethrin, and Bifenthrin) was also found,” he said.
According to Mr. Bah, the presence of Sniper (Dichlorvos) and other pesticides have been confirmed analytically in the samples tested in July 2022, and all fish processors, distributors, and vendors are hereby warned to cease and desist from the use of pesticides on fish and other food products and that anyone found engaging in such unscrupulous activity would be in breach of the law and therefore shall face the undesirable consequences that come with it.
Bah further outlined that fact-finding teams were established, which comprised officials of the Food Safety and Quality Authority, National Environment Agency, Directorate of Public Health of the Ministry of Health, Department of Fisheries, and Pesticide Experts.
According to a released statement, the public was sensitized to the potential risks associated with the use of insecticides in food products, he noted.
The teams visited fish landing sites and market to administer questionnaires and collected fish samples for laboratory analysis, adding that during the engagements with the fish vendors and processors, none of the respondents attested to the use of snipers, however empty sniper containers were seen at a site, according to the statement.