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16.10.2008 Social News

Stop killing us! Check-Check vendors

By Naa Bettey Nelson - Ghanaian Chronicle

It would occur to everyone who lives in Accra that a local version of fried rice, which is normally referred to as check-check, is sold all over the streets of Accra, most especially at the junctions of some streets in Accra.

All sorts of people who called themselves cooks, most especially young men, have taken to preparing and selling this dish.

Information gathered by the Accra File revealed that most of these foods sold are prepared with chemicalised ingredients, which could be harmful to the human body.

Some of the harm includes kidney and liver damage, and other fatal illnesses.

It has been realised that most of these sellers put all sort of ingredients in the food, to give it a great taste and smell, and most importantly, additives to cook the food in the shortest possible time.

It is also known that most of these sellers have not attended any catering schools, but rather learn from other people, who begun the business earlier.

Eye witnesses spotted some joints where these foods are sold, and pointed out some sellers at Odorkor, on the Busia road leading to Twenebua, who indulge in such acts.

Some said these sellers do not normally mix the ingredients openly, but rather at the back of their shops and kiosks, before frying it openly.

These sellers have created small rooms for that act.

They even go further and buy overripe and almost rotten vegetables to add to the ingredients.

The rotten/overripe vegetables include tomatoes, onions, cabbage, and dry vegetable leaves.

At some scenes, The File noticed a blackish substance, which was being mixed with the rice while on the fire.

Finding out from some sellers why they added that liquid, some said it changed the colour of the plain rice they used, and this attracted more people.

They add about four to five cubes of the normal Maggie sold on the markets, just to give the food a sweet taste. But adding this amount of Maggie is harmful to human health, because it is too much for the food.

Eye witnesses have also confirmed that these young boys, who call themselves fast food cooks, do not even use iodated salt, but use the normal one which causes goiter – a sickness which affects the throat. This mostly happens to women.

The Accra File has further indicated that one of the ingredients, which is normally referred to as white Maggie (A1), is also added to the rice when preparing.

But, some doctors and pharmacists have come out with a research that this particular ingredient is not meant for cooking, but rather for the washing and polishing of cooking utensils and metal buckets.

In an interview with some people who complained bitterly about the food they said,

“This food cannot be eaten continuously for one week, because it will kill you. There is too much oil and so much taste of Maggie in; it doesn't taste like normal food.”

Some also said the spices were too much, and that while chewing the food one notices a bitter taste when swallowing.

But, who are in charge of these sellers, who want to poison everyone slowly?

Everyone should avoid buying these types of food in order to stay healthy and live a long life.