Lagos State government confiscates truckload of Pomo
The Lagos State Government has confiscated a truckload of “Toxic Pomo” at Ijegun, a suburb of the state in the Alimosho Local Government area of the State, imported into the country by some unscrupulous individuals.
Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya, who disclosed this in Lagos today noted that Police in Ikotun area of the State made the arrest of a vehicle fully loaded with cowhide, otherwise known as “ponmo”, and subsequently informed officials of the State Government.
He pointed out that the cowhide preserved with certain chemicals for the purpose of being used as leather material are being sold for human consumption by some criminals prior to their arrest by the Police and subsequent confiscation by the State Government.
The Permanent Secretary noted that the confiscated “toxic ponmo”, suspected to contain substances that could spread the Ebola virus, has since been transported to the Ministry’s outstation at Johnson Agiri Office Complex, Agege for onward disposal at the medical waste dumpsite in Ewu Elepe, Ikorodu area of the State.
Dr. Onasanya explained further that other relevant agencies such as the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and Environmental Health Officers have been duly informed of the discovery and the disposal exercise. He reiterated the commitment of the State Government to step up its monitoring activities with a view to further fishing out the existence of any “toxic ponmo” in the Lagos markets.
He, however, called on members of the public to be vigilant and report any suspected activities and sales of unwholesome foods to the nearest local government in the State or the State Ministry of Agriculture. The Permanent Secretary also advised members of the public against the purchase and consumption of food whose sources are doubtful or perceived to be harmful to human health and wellbeing.
What is Cow Skin
This is the hairy outer covering of the cow which is removed when slaughtered for food. Also referred to as cow hide, it is a by-product of processing cow for meat in the food industry and usually earmarked for processing into other things. The skin is regarded as an organ and is considered to be the largest organ in an animal due to its large surface area.
To the world at large, cow hide is destined to be processed through tanning, to make leather which is subsequently used for a variety of things in the fashion and furniture manufacturing industries. On the other hand, protein in cow skin, known as collagen/gelatine is also extracted for use in the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetics industries.
From Cow Skin to Pomo
Nigerians enjoy a delicacy processed from cow skin which is locally referred to as pomo. It is very popular and even though it was regarded as a frugal alternative to meat, pomo is eaten across different societal class levels. It features regularly, along with other types of meats, in classic traditional dishes, and its absence in a dish, to some people, can cause “trouble”. Cow skin in itself is really tough to eat and requires an arduous process of cooking to soften/tenderize it for human consumption.
The main aims of processing cow skin to pomo, are to remove the hair from the skin and tenderize it, and there are two methods for doing this: boiling and burning/roasting. After skinning the cow, the skin is cut up into manageable sizes and either boiled or burned/roasted.