Understanding local food safety issues

Sep 18, 2023 | Food Safety & Security | 0 comments

Rasaq Oke

There are a lot of common age-long, unsafe food practices that we engage in and which we have to stop if we are to ensure the consumption of wholesome, safe, and nutritious foods.

Some of these unsafe food practices are:
• Use of Paracetamol to tenderize meat
• Cooking cow skin with nails to make it soft
• Using Broomstick for shredding and mashing cooked mallow leaves otherwise known as ewedu
• Roasting of Groundnuts with sand
• Storing raw foods (e.g. meat, fish, chicken, etc.) with other food items that cause cross-contamination
• Tasting of seemingly spoilt food to ascertain its quality
• Using sand as a local oven to bake

Experts have advised that it is dangerous to use broomsticks which is an age-long practice to mash the slimy vegetable, mallow- leaves which is a local soup otherwise known as Ewedu in Yoruba-speaking areas, Rama ayoyo among the Hausas while the Igbo call it Kerenkere. This is because ewedu soup that is mashed with broomsticks could still retain splinters of the broom and when eaten, the splinters from the broomsticks could get trapped inside the esophagus or the intestine. According to experts, this has been attributed to some gastroenterology-related diseases.
In Yoruba-speaking areas, most mothers use this ewedu soup to wean their babies and thus extra care must be applied while preparing this soup.

Equally, the alarming rate at which some event caterers and food vendors apply the use of paracetamol to cook meat that people will eat at parties and sometimes at some canteens. Some food vendors confessed that they resorted to using this analgesic believing that it would help to reduce the long hours of boiling meat and sometimes cow legs and cow skin so as to meet the demands of their ever-restive and impatient customers. And it’s scary to hear that some people apply paracetamol to soften beans.

NAFDAC and other healthcare professionals in Nigeria have advised people to stop these unwholesome practices because the prolonged use of paracetamol as a pain-killer increases the risk of kidney and liver diseases, meat, beans, etc which increases the risk of suffering from the above diseases.

Do you know of any unwholesome and unsafe food practices that people engage in?

You can share experiences on some of these age-long practices and their food safety concerns. Also, let’s hear your input and suggestions on how best to put a stop to it so as to ensure the consumption of safe and nutritious foods for the populace.

Food safety is everyone’s business and a shared responsibility!


Rasaq Oke

Rasaq Oke

Rasaq Oke is a food and agribusiness writer, street food safety advocate, a food entrepreneur. You can reach him on +234-7059549741 Email: [email protected]


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