Filth At the Centre of Food Consumption

Yaounde Mfoundi Market! It is midday and the place is crowded with traders particularly those selling fruits and vegetable. While some traders place their goods on bare ground, others manage to place it on a table or palm leaves. Worthy to note is the majority of women who place their goods on the ground next to the market garbage bin.

As these women struggle to beckon customers, so too do they struggle not only to avoid the running dirty water from the garbage bin but also to drive away flies that hover over their goods. The dirty nature in which food stuffs are preserved and presented is a cause for alarm as the World Health Organisation (WHO) says food-borne and waterborne diarrhoeal diseases kill an estimated two million people annually. It is within this backdrop that Cameroon yesterday, April 7, 2015 joined the international community to commemorate the World Health Day with focus on the prevention of food-borne diseases which is a major health problem in the society.

A Senior Food Safety Official at the Ministry of Public Health, Bruno Konan Nye-Ngo, says unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, causes more than 200 diseases which are usually infectious or toxic in nature, leading to long-term disability and death. The food expert stressed that food-borne pathogens can cause severe diarrhoea or debilitating infectious which include meningitis.

Bruno Konan Nye-Ngo says when farmers do not respect the right quantity and period to use farm inputs during cultivation this can lead to chemical contamination thereby leading to acute poisoning or long-term diseases such as cancer. WHO-Country Office Nutrition Focal Point, Etienne Kembou, noted that unsafe food does not just begin in farms but also in kitchens because uncooked foods of animal origins, fruits and vegetables contaminated with faeces contain marine biotoxins which are dangerous to the health.

As the world focus on the food chain from farm to the plate, WHO Country Representative, Dr Charlotte Faty Ndiaye as well as the Minister of Public Health, Andreacute Mama Fouda underscores the need for people to eat clean food to stay in good health.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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