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Gambia: 5 Pesticides Detected In Smoked-fish Tested In Dakar

Momodou Bah
Director of Food Safety and Quality Authority

By Buba Gagigo

Sniper (Dichlorvos) and 4 other pesticides have been detected in smoked-fish samples from the Gambia tested in Dakar amid an allegation that some women in the business used the pesticide in processing the product.

Investigations by Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA) and partners have proven that Sniper, Permethrin, Abamectin, Cypermethrin and Bifenthrin were actually used on the samples sent the Senegalese laboratory.

“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 subsample for analysis at Ceres Locustox Laboratory in Dakar, Senegal to determine the presence of pesticides. The result of the analysis indicated the presence of Sniper (Dichlorvos) and four other insecticide products (namely; Permethrin, Abamectin, Cypermethrin and Bifenthrin),” Momodou Bah, Director of Food Safety and Quality Authority said in a joint press conference on Friday.

He said the results further indicated 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) were also found,” he continued.

The FSQA Director also 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.

“The presence of Sniper (Dichlorvos) and other pesticides have been confirmed analytically in the samples tested in July 2022. All fish processors, distributors and vendors are hereby warned to cease and desist from the use of pesticides on fish and other food products. Anyone found engaging in such unscrupulous activity would be in breach of the law and therefore shall face the undesirable consequences that comes with it,” ” he said.

The release informed the public that this message would be followed by risk communication exercises to create awareness on safe chemical usage to ensure good hygienic practices in food processing to safeguard public health and preserve environmental health

Last month, there was a public outcry on the purported use of pesticides, particularly the Sniper on smoked-fish by fish processors and vendors. 

The allegation prompted an immediate stakeholder engagement and subsequent veritication process to investigate the use and presence of insecticides in fish products by FSQA and partners.

According to the statement, the public was sensitised on the potential risks associated with the use of insecticides in food products. 

Fact -finding teams were established, which comprised officials of Food Safety and Quality Authority, National Environment Agency, Directorate of Public Health of the Ministry of Health, Department of Fisheries and Pesticide Experts, it added. 

The teams visited fish landing sites and markets to administer questionnaires and collected fish samples for laboratory analysis. 

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.

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