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06.10.2008 Health

Beware! Unhygienic foods sold on the streets of Accra

By Naa Bettey Nelson - Ghanaian Chronicle

Upon several warnings by the Regional Health Directorate, on the confirmed cases of cholera in the Accra metropolis, some hawkers, especially young women, still sell unhygienic foods on the streets of Accra.

It has come to the notice of the Accra File that some sellers have inculcated the habit of selling food, anywhere, especially just under traffic lights, and even from one habitat to the other.

Some of these foods include Jollof rice, plain rice, plantain and stew and waakye.

But before buying these foods, one should ask, do these sellers go through the right hygienic procedures when preparing these foods?

Information reaching the Accra File has indicated that some of these sellers do not use healthy vegetables, and even the ingredients used in preparing the foods – quality wise - are suspect.

It was known that these sellers go to buy over-ripe/almost rotten vegetables, especially onions and tomatoes, from the market women at the Agbogbloshie Market.

It said that these over-ripe/almost rotten sometimes are infested with maggots, worms and fungi, which are very harmful to the human body.

Speaking to some women at the Agbogbloshie Market, they noted that most times when they buy the vegetables in wooden crates, they realise that those at the bottom are usually half rotten, so they do their best to separate good ones from the bad.

They said when some of the food vendors come to the market, they ask for these rotten ones because they get them at a very cheap rate, and thus are able to buy more of them.

After paying for these items, they take them to the grinder for blending without thoroughly washing or cleaning them.

The Accra File detected also that those who do the blending, do not wash the machine after each blending and put in new vegetables, resulting in most of the food items having leftovers from the previous item mixed with the new foodstuff. – tomatoes tasting of garden egg previously blended.

It was also realised that most of these sellers also use food colouring in preparing some of the foods, especially jollof rice. Sometimes these food vendors move about in the hot sun carrying the food, which is not healthy.

A release issued by Dr. Irene Agyepong, Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, said all government health facilities in the Greater Accra Region were well resourced to handle cholera cases.

She pointed out also that treatment for cholera was free in all government health facilities.

She said any person suffering from loose watery stools and vomiting, should be rushed to the nearest clinic or hospital for treatment.

She also explained further that one can prevent cholera by adopting the following measures - washing your hands with soap and water before eating, and after using the toilet.

She further urged everyone to wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly, befor eating. She warned that one should avoid buying unhygienic foods, sold on the streets by sellers who you do not know enough hygiene.