Mayor Pierre Junior Fouda Fouda of Mbankomo, a commune about 20 kilometers west of Yaoundé, is investigating rumors of artificially ripened bananas being sold to motorists along the crucial National Road N°5.
In a press release issued Friday, Fouda Fouda pledged to "cross-check the facts relayed (and) if necessary, take all necessary measures to put an end to such practices."
The concern stems from the potential health risks associated with artificial ripening methods, particularly the use of formaldehyde, which has been linked to cancer and other health problems.
Authorities on Alert
The issue of artificially ripened food has gained traction in Cameroon in recent months. In July 2023, the divisional officer of Dschang in the West Region raised concerns about the practice, highlighting consumer complaints about the use of formaldehyde on bananas, plantains, and other produce. A month later, Cameroon's Commerce Minister threatened sanctions against those found engaging in such practices.
Economic Concerns Amplify Worry
Mayor Fouda Fouda is particularly concerned about the potential impact of artificially ripened bananas on the local economy in Mbankomo. The alleged sales are reportedly taking place at the Okoa Maria toll booth, a major commercial hub along the Douala-Yaoundé highway. The mayor has called on the public to collaborate with the authorities to investigate the rumors and put an end to any potential illegal activity. He urged residents to report any suspicious activity or information related to the sale of artificially ripened food products.