PONMO (COW SKIN) – What You Need To Know.


I know most of you might be wondering, ” Ponmo ?’ , ‘Why Ponmo ?”. Anyways the ongoing debate has made me weigh in on this delicious topic. There has been a threat of a ban hanging around the
consumption of ponmo which has sparked Nigerians moving into a hot
debate for or against it. Well, this post is aimed at bringing you to a decision about your view on Ponmo consumption .


Cow hide/skin, popularly known as ponmo , is basically cow skin that has been processed to look similar to beef. There are two (known) varieties of ponmo. This classification is based on their mode of preparation and colour. One is usually white/cream/off-white in
colour, while the other is brown. In the white/cream variety, the hide is removed from the skin by soaking in boiling water, and then using blade to shave off the hair; while in the brown variety, the hide and skin are subjected to a high level of heat, so as to burn out the hide
(fur). After this process, the skin is then washed several times and then boiled for hours so as to ensure that it is softened. The skin is then sold in our markets as ponmo – a great delicacy and an important  ingredient in the preparation of several stews in various
cultures in Nigeria. Most Nigerians love ponmo so much that some believe a good day meal is incomplete without it. Ponmo is a regular sight at parties and several public outings, served in different formats.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, recently at the third joint anniversary of the Animal Science Association of Nigeria and the Nigeria Institute of
Animal Science, held at the University of Ibadan with the theme: “Value addition in the Nigerian livestock industry: A strategy for economic growth and stakeholder’s empowerment.” said: “I am confident that the satisfactory production levels achieved in the poultry and swine segments will soon stretch to reach other commodities such as beef,
dairy, micro livestock and animal by- products such as leather, bones,
hides and skins.” He further said that “I also commend NIAS for its advocacy and enlightenment programme on radio and television that promote value addition in livestock, as against sale and consumption of primary products alone, particularly with the issue of curtailing the widespread consumption of of hides and skins as ponmo , which ought to be tanned into leather for a very high dollar return to the farmer and tanneries. I expect that competent regulations acceptable by all stakeholders will develop so as to give credibility that our set standards for food safety are being implemented to boost value addition.” With that statement, it can be expected that very soon ponmo would be banned from our markets, pots and even our plates.

NUTRITIONAL BENEFIT OF PONMO Despite the taste appeal ponmo delivers to your taste buds, it would be quite shocking for some of you to know that ponmo contains little next to nothing in terms of nutritional value. The nutritional analysis of a 40 gram piece of ponmois: Calories (150g); Total fat (4g); Saturated fat (1g); Poly saturated
fat (0g); Mono saturated fat (0g); Trans fat (0g); Cholesterol (0g); Sodium (0mg); Potassium (0mg); Total carbohydrate (0g); Dietary fibre (0g); Sugars (0 per cent); Proteins (0 per cent); Vitamin A (0 percent); Vitamin C (0 per cent); Calcium (0 per cent); Iron (0 per cent).
From the above, you need no telling that the consumption of ponmo gives nothing to your body. So, why are we so addicted to this piece of leather.

POSSIBLE DANGER TO HEALTH According to a post on Punch, the Director- General of the Nigerian Institute of Leather Science and Technology, Zaria, Kaduna State, Dr. Isuwa Adamu, on Tuesday warned against the consumption of animal hides and skin, known locally as ponmo . He said: “it is not advisable for you to
consume ponmo in the sense that some of the animals killed and used for ponmo actually have skin diseases. Some of these skin diseases are such that boiling them ordinarily may not kill the bacteria,’’. He added that some of the animals killed had been ill and undergoing injections but the rearers went ahead to kill them, leaving the buyers vulnerable to chemicals in the animal skin. The DG also added, “Some
of the animals because of the ailments that they have gone through are sometimes treated by way of injection with chemicals. People don’t allow these chemicals to complete its cycle and be removed from the body; they sometimes go ahead to kill these animals. “So, if
you consume the ponmo , the tendency is that you are consuming the chemicals directly because the skin part of the animal retains most of the harmful substances. In addition to this, during the production process of ponmo , the hides and skin are usually subjected to Unclad
flames so as to enable the hides to burn off the skin. During the burning process, a lot of different unhygienic substances such as trash, wood, charcoal, rubber tires and so on, are thrown into the
furnace to sustain the blazing heat. As the furnace burns, the combusting wood, gas, or charcoal emits chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which finds its way into the
smoked food and contaminates it. Exposure to PAHs is known to cause skin, liver, stomach and several other types of cancers in laboratory animals. In addition to this, epidemiological studies have found a positive statistical correlation between intestinal tract cancer and frequent intake of smoked food. These studies have also linked
occupational exposure to PAHs to cancer in humans. Sad right?, but who cares. No one has ever died from ponmo consumption, no be so.
But take a look at the ponmo below, tasty right? Do you know it is same as just a cooked italian leather bag/shoe? Your favorite brands Lois Vutton et al all use ponmo in manufacturing their products. You want your own locally made standard leather accessories?


Do you have a contrary opinion on pomo consumption? Hit the comments section and lets hear your view. #BringBackOurPonmo or #GoodbyeDearPonmo ?
[Some facts gathered from Punch Newspapers]



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