Double check quality of foods before consumption – Experts warn
Food experts are urging consumers to double check the quality of foods they buy before consumption to save them from food poisoning.
They express concern there are increasing cases of food poisoning that could cause severe damage to one’s health which should not be ignored.
According to the World Health Organisation, one in every ten people falls ill from consuming contaminated food every year although local statistics are unavailable because of low reporting of condition at hospitals. There are many causes of this contamination, including food being liaised with harmful microorganisms, unwholesome additives, and chemical residue, thereby resulting in food borne diseases.
Dr. Donne Ameme of the University of Ghana’s School of Public Health notes although a lot of food borne disease incidents are resolved without complications they are capable of causing death.
“Sometimes you may get complications that relate to the kidney, your kidney may fail. You may get joint complications. Sometimes, brain and nervous tissue damage could result from foodborne diseases and ultimately you may die but most of the food borne diseases resolve without complications” Dr. Ameme explained in an interview with Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo for the Hotline Documentary ‘Poison on the Menu.”
The documentary explored how the food you consume could be killing you slowly with or without your knowledge and approval.
A victim of food poisoning Kofi Darko shared a harrowing experience of how he nearly died as a result of consuming contaminated food after he bought banana on the streets of Kumasi and ate.
“I had butterflies in my tummy. It was a weird experience. We had to rush to the hospital. After the doctor conducted tests, he said I had taken poison. They gave me activated charcoal so I can vomit everything out. They took samples to run some tests and they realized the fruits had some chemical substances…..” he narrated.
“They forced it to ripe by adding carbide that I hear they use to cause the banana to ripe immaturely. The doctor said if I hadn’t been rushed to the hospital, I could have died.” he narrated,” Kofi added.
The Food and Drugs Authority says they have a lot of difficulties monitoring the quality of foods which are not packaged before sale but they are not relenting on their efforts to keep consumers safe.
“When we talk of the non-prepackage foods like palm oil, vegetables, and others, regulating them is not easy. But we occasionally do market surveys to pick samples and check their quality,” Maria Lovelace Johnson who is Head of Food Regulation at the authority explained.
Food Consultant with the Meridian Agricultural Services, Aaron AttefaAmpofobelieves it’s about time consumers took ultimate responsibility for the food they consumed and insisted that only clean, unadulterated stuff enters their stomachs. He is asking consumers to double check the quality of the foods they buy before consumption.
“The consumer has the power to change the situation. We have regulators there but the buck stops with the consumer because they have the purchasing power. They pay the cash. So consumers have to be observant. We have to give feedback to our producers,” he advised.
President of the Concerned Farmers Association of Ghana Nana Oboadie Boateng Bonsu is advocating for a food tracing system to check the problem. “Go to Agbogbloshie and see.
"Everything is from wherever, they send it to Agbogblosihe and people just buy them without any tag. And so when there is any food poisoning, we will not know the source. This must change so that if it is today that you harvested your products, we know what you sent it to the market,” he explained.
He says this will ensure traders in food are held responsible when there are cases of contamination, so they stop bad practices.