ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An Iraqi lawmaker on Wednesday claimed a shipment of “carcinogenic” chicken liver is going to be brought into the country through Basra’s of Umm Qasr port.
MP Alia Nasif, in a statement sent out by email to reporters, claimed that the brand carrying the “carcinogenic chicken liver” is “al-Lu’lu’a” – the Arabic word for pearl – adding the packages state they are of Malaysian origin.
Nasif did not provide any evidence for her allegations or details on how she learned of the possible contamination of the product. Kurdistan 24 was also unable to reach any customs official for comment or corroborate the claims.
“The issue is very serious, and if it happened in any other country, they would have considered it to be similar to a terrorist operation aimed at mass murder.”
The authorities should “intervene urgently” and seize this shipment before it reaches the markets, Nasif argued.
“Weak souls” are trying to allow the shipment through the southern port, “in a series of [deals] trading the lives of Iraqis for [profit], which is Haram [religiously prohibited].”
She also noted that, along with unnamed colleagues, she has previously issued similar warnings “to prevent the entry of these toxins into Iraqi markets and from reaching consumers.”
Nasif called on the Prime Minister, the National Security Apparatus, the Integrity Commission, and concerned parties to intervene urgently, halt the shipment and confiscate the goods, as well as hold accountable those who are bringing it into the country.
Iraq, with one of the world’s largest oil reserves, ranks 166, on Transparency International’s corruption index, the tenth most corrupt country out of a total of 176.
The country’s high level of corruption within state institutions has for years squandered Iraq’s revenue, already battered by lower oil prices and increased spending during the fight against the Islamic State (IS), over which Baghdad declared victory in 2017.
Editing by Nadia Riva