A lecturer of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Prof. Polycarp Nnacheta Okafor has said that consumption of cassava is not responsible for cases of diabetes, goiter and paralysis in humans.
Okafor made the disclosure at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State while delivering the 52nd inaugural lecture of the university. He affirmed that deficiency of iodine is responsible for the development of goiter in a person.
The Professor of Biochemical Technology said that the information is based on a 27-year- old research, which produced various results to the fact that consumption of cassava does not cause goiter, paralyses and diabetes in humans.
According to him, samples were collected from Abia, Enugu, Edo, Oyo States and thoroughly analysed which dismissed the claims that the above mentioned diseases came from cassava.
“An authority has spoken. Go and enjoy your Akpu. But avoid processing it with harmful substances. Try also, to avoid synthetic foods and drinks like frequent fruit drinks.”
He maintained that it is only when cassava roots come in contact with harmful substances that it is not recommended for consultation.
Prof Okafor, who took time to analyze his research, said it was a shame that De-United, a foreign-owned company transformed cassava roots popular food for kids and adults yet, the same cassava is still been denigrated.
He charged the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration, (NAFDAC) Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and all relevant regulatory agencies to stop the discharging of dangerous substances into our water systems and to control the emission of deadly wastes into the air.
He advised the federal government and relevant agencies to give cassava and its products the needed attention which would in turn, boost the Nigerian economy by enhancing affordability and availability of foods.
The federal ministry of agriculture, he demanded, should rise to the occasion even as he warned parents against giving their children fruit juices on frequent basis, warning that such children would grow up to suffer from diabetes and related sicknesses.