Women health

I assume that every cuisine in the world has at least one food item that sparks debate over why and how it is eaten and enjoyed....and for Nigeria and Nigerians, one of these food items is cow skin (also known as pomo, ponmo, awo, kanda (dry form), raincoat).

In today's post, I'll share some of the cow skin research I've done to assist you figure out if you should or shouldn't be eating pomo...

Cow Skin: What Is It?

When a cow is slaughtered for food, the hairy outer layer of the animal is removed. It's also known as cow hides, and it's a by-product of the food industry's processing of cows for meat. It's typically destined for other uses. Because of its huge surface area, the skin is regarded as an organ and is the largest organ in an animal.

To the rest of the world, cow hide is destined to be tanned and used to manufacture leather, which is then utilized for a variety of purposes in the fashion and furniture sectors. Collagen/gelatine, a protein found in bovine skin, is also isolated for application in the pharmaceutical, culinary, and cosmetics sectors.

Beginning Cow Skin to Pomo

Nigerians delight in pomo, a delicacy made from cow skin. Pomo is extremely popular, and despite its reputation as a low-cost meat substitute, it is consumed by people of all socioeconomic classes. It frequently appears in classic traditional recipes, along with other sorts of meats, and its absence in a dish might cause "confusion" for certain individuals. Cow skin is rough to consume raw, and it takes a long time to soften and tenderize it for human consumption.

The main goals of pomo processing are to remove the hair from the skin and tenderize it, which can be accomplished in two ways: boiling and roasting. After the cow has been skinned, the skin is sliced into manageable pieces and boiled or burned/roasted.

Boiling: In this procedure, the cow skin is first immersed in hot water to aid in the removal of hair. The cow skin is cooked until it is tender and suitable to eat after it has been shaved. Following the boiling process, the skin is steeped in water for several hours, resulting in a brief period of fermentation that softens the cow skin. This method generates pomo that is white in color.

Hot/Roasting: In this treatment, the skin is placed into a burning flame to singe off the hair and start the softening process. Old tyres and/or wood are used to create the flame. To create a strong flame, various petrochemical chemicals (such as kerosene, diesel, or petrol) are frequently used. The pomo is cooked again after roasting, then rinsed and left to soak in water. The brown/burnt color pomo is the result of this procedure.



Cow skin is frequently claimed to have no nutritional value. This isn't the case at all. Collagen, a type of protein that is critical for holding bones and skin tissues in place, is abundant in cow skin. According to Akwetey W. Y., Eremong D. C., and Donkoh A. (Journal of Animal Science Advances), cow skin includes some respectable quantities of minerals in addition to protein, depending on how it is processed. However, cow skin protein is thought to be of poor grade.

Foods with high biological value or high quality protein include all of the essential amino acids the body requires to function on a regular basis. Cheese, milk, eggs, steak, chicken, and fish are just a few examples.

Foods high in collagen protein or gelatine, such as cow foot, chicken foot, pig's tail, oxtail, cow skin, and other gelatinous meats, on the other hand, are considered to be of little biological value (low quality protein). This is due to the fact that they include a lot of non-essential amino acids (amino acids that the body can make on its own) and one or more essential amino acids.

But wait....cow skin isn't the only item in this category....some popular foods that are supposed to be extremely healthful, such as peas, beans, and almonds, also lack one or more amino acids.....

So, what are the issues at hand?

There are numerous references to pomo being harmful, cancer-causing, nutritionally worthless, and a drain on the Nigerian economy all over the internet. Nigeria is eating its leather industry, according to a BBC article (Nigeria Is Eating Its Leather Industry...!)

First and foremost, in regards to pomo being unhealthy, we have established that it does include some protein (albeit of low quality due to the lack of some necessary amino acids) and minerals. This assertion was made in the above-mentioned research effort by Akwetey W. Y., Eremong D. C., and Donkoh A. However, they conclude that the amount of nutrients in pomo is directly proportional to the technique of production.

Contaminants are most likely introduced into pomo based on the techniques of manufacturing, according to Akwetey W. Y., Eremong D. C., and Donkoh A. For example, pomo roasted in tyre and petrochemical-based fires is more likely to contain residual materials that are unfit for human consumption and may have harmful effects on the body.

There are also worries that some chemical chemicals administered to cattle before to slaughter (for veterinary reasons) may linger on the skin and be passed on to humans who eat the skin. This is in addition to concerns that parasites, blemishes, or diseases on the skin could be transmitted into the food chain.

Furthermore, there are worries that unethical pomo processors/producers use chemical agents to plump up pomo and make it more desirable to purchasers.

Last but not least, Nigeria may be able to increase its foreign currency earnings by exporting cow hides or developing its own leather manufacturing industry. Nigerians are being enticed to sell or transform cow skin into leather rather than eat it!

My Personal views

Every risk raised above is directly related to pomo processing procedures. I believe there will be fewer concerns about pomo if better production procedures are used, as well as appropriate monitoring and public health inspection and certification.

Pomo is a Nigerian delicacy that is prized for its flavor and texture (when cooked properly). It gives whatever meal it's added a distinct flavor and texture, especially stews and soups.

Pomo is not a food item that I believe will be phased out of Nigerian culinary culture anytime soon, owing to its popularity and availability. Instead, address the concerns surrounding its manufacture and ensure that the procedures utilized adhere to the appropriate requirements and standards.

How I Make Use of Pomo

 I like to use pomo from time to time, especially while making traditional soups like egusi, ogbonna, and efo riro. It adds a terrific flavour and texture to my foods, which I appreciate.

I'm quite picky about the ones I buy, but while there are no guarantees, I do inspect for these three things before I buy: thickness and texture, scent, and general appearance - I look for cuts or bruises on the top. I also make if the texture is solid and spongy, and that there is no objectionable or overpowering odor.

When I buy pomo, I clean it properly before using it. I first soak the pomo pieces in hot water and clean them with a metal sponge to remove any black streaks from the surface and crevices/folds. I then rinse with fresh, clean water that has been infused with lime or lemon juice. Finally, I cut the potatoes into smaller bite-size pieces and boil them for approximately 10 minutes, or until they are tender to my liking. I then remove the pomo pieces from the boiling water, dump the water, and store them until needed.

"When I make pomo, I make sure it's not the only source of protein in the dish. To create a nutritionally balanced meal, combine pomo with different types of protein and veggies."

Usage in Those other Countries

In other West African countries, such as Ghana, cow skin is similarly prepared like pomo and eaten as welle or wele.

Cow skin is also eaten in the Caribbean, where it is added to stews and soups, and is particularly popular with West Indian men.

However, gelatine/collagen is extracted from cow skin (as well as pig, chicken legs, and other animal bones) and used in the food industry in various forms to make food items such as jelly, gello, gelatin sheets, fruit or wine gums, gummy bears, jelly babies, ice-cream, and so on in other countries, particularly in the more industrialized ones. It's also used as a gelling agent in ready-to-eat meals and other processed foods.

Gelatine is also utilized in pharmaceutical businesses to create drug casings and as a gelling agent in medicines. In the cosmetics industry, it's also added to beauty creams and goods.

Collagen is also extracted from cow skin (as well as other animal sources) by the Japanese, who utilize it to manufacture collagen powder or bases, which are then used to make collagen soup, a supposedly trendy/fad beauty therapy...


Pomo has become a very popular local delicacy, enjoyed by people of all social classes.

Its distinct flavor and texture are what have made it so popular.

The use of tyres and petrochemicals such as diesel/petrol/kerosene in the production of pomo raises questions and concerns about its acceptability for human consumption.

Cow skin pomo has nutritional value, contrary to popular belief. Pomo contains respectable levels of protein (although of low quality/low biological value since it lacks one or more necessary amino acids, according to research) depending on its method of synthesis. Some minerals have also been discovered in processed pomo as a result of research.

Establishing a certified standard processing business for pomo production in Nigeria is one guaranteed approach to ensure that the existing health concerns about it are addressed.

Cow skin is consumed in some form or another all throughout the world, whether directly or indirectly, in processed foods, sweets, jelly or gelato, ice cream, food additives, ready meals, snacks, and other products.

Pomo should never be your primary source of protein. To establish a balance, combine with other proteins and veggies.




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