Health Alert: Stop buying vegetables displayed on the floor
The Tema Metropolitan Nutritionist, Mr Samuel Atuahene Antwi at the weekend cautioned Ghanaians to be circumspect in purchasing fruits and vegetables displayed in the open on the floor as they tend to lose their nutritive value.
In an interaction with the Ghana News Agency at Tema, Mr Atuahene Antwi said there were conditions for food storage, hot foods must be eaten hot, likewise cold foods and those with room temperature.
According to him, traditionally foods stuffs brought from the farms were mostly displayed on the floor or on the ground and then the market women would go, buy and come display them on the floor and sell as well.
He said food should be free of microbes or disease causing organisms, and one very key point where microorganisms could be introduced into food was through displaying on the ground.
He added that, once foodstuff was poured or displayed on the floor, then the soil particles which might contain this microorganism could get into the food and help in the food spoilage and also reduce the nutrients value.
Mr Atuahene Antwi said that most of the Assemblies had public health by laws that forbade traders to display foodstuffs on the ground, rather it should be on elevated platforms, but unfortunately the Assemblies were not enforcing it.
He noted that once these fruits and vegetables were displayed in the open, the wind blew and dust settled on and when purchased, it needed to be washed very well, but then most of these vegetables especially the green leafy ones lose their nutrients to water whilst others also lose their nutrients to air and sun.
He advised that, once you set out to buy fruits or vegetables from the market, one should look out for those displayed on elevated stand.
He advised that people should not think about cost too much when purchasing foodstuff, avoid spoilt or deteriorated foodstuffs just to cut down costs, because once deterioration sets in, you lose most of the nutritive value if not all.
Mr Atuahene Antwi admonished the Environmental Health Officers and the Assemblies not to be discouraged by the people’s disrespect and disregard for the bye-laws in respect to the handling of foods.
He charged them to carry on with the education, so people will appreciate reason why they should not display foodstuffs in the sun and on the floor.
He also urged consumers to shun away from foodstuffs displayed in the sun and on the floor no matter how cheap it came.