By Omar Bah
The Food Safety and Quality Authority on Friday told reporters its investigation showed the use of sniper by smoked fish vendors.
Last month, the authority launched a swift investigation into claims of fish smokers using sniper insecticide on smoked fish.
“Fact-finding teams were established, which comprised officials of Food Safety and Quality Authority, National Environment Agency, Directorate of Public Health Ministry of Health, Department of Fisheries and Pesticide Experts.
The teams visited fish landing sites and markets to administer questionnaires and collect fish samples for laboratory analysis. During these engagements with the fish vendors and processors, none of respondents attested to the use of snipers, however empty sniper containers were seen at a site,” the authority said.
According to the authority, a total of 57 fish samples were collected from 7 fish landing sites and 9 markets within the Greater Banjul area. “From the main sample, 11 fish samples were randomly selected as a 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). The results further indicated high residual concentration of dichlorvos 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.
The authority said the Sniper product found in The Gambia contains a highly toxic organophosphate compound, which is very toxic to human health and the environment.
“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 come with it. The general public is also hereby informed that this press release will be followed by Risk communication exercises to create awareness on safe chemical pesticide usage to ensure Good Hygienic Practices in food processing, safeguard public health and preserve environmental health.
“The General public is assured that the concerned authorities will apply powers vested in them to ensure that the food chain is safe and free from any undesirable elements. The understanding and cooperation of the general public is highly solicited,” it added.