I am a lover of the regular and common roadside Nigeria snacks but sometimes I get disgusted at the sight of some certain things. When I say roadside snacks, I mean foods like roasted and boiled corns, fried yams, fried Akara, roasted plantain, puff puffs, fried fish and other snacks that are usually sold along the streets and at various bus stops. I can imagine what question is running through your mind right now- What else is left for us to eat? Yes, sometimes I share the same thought but regardless of how hard it is, the bitter truth has to be told.
These snacks which are technically called “ready to eat foods” have actually become part of the regular diets of many, particularly the rural and local dwellers. In my quest to unravel the rampant cases of food poisonings and health hazards, I have come to realize that many of the issues are due to these kinds of food with fewer cases associated with homemade foods.
Just a few days ago, I and my big brother visited somewhere in Ipaja (Lagos) in his car, as we both looked at our right while in the slow-moving traffic, we saw a roadside Yam and Akara (fried bean cake) seller. Just in the traffic, a faulty trailer was in front of us, which was producing some very thick, dark and dangerous carbon monoxide and had most of the gas directly deposited on the displayed foods. This happens virtually every time as the seller is just by the very busy road.
We all are aware of the state of our trucks, trailer, cars and even the Lagos commercial buses, popularly called “Danfo” as regards the quality of their exhausts. What of the dust deposit on some of these snacks? Only a few of the sellers cover the foods with transparent nylon to provide some forms of a shield. The deposits are seriously causing health hazards unknowing to millions of people on a daily basis.
Many of the women and men who sell these ready to made snack wear dirty aprons, rub their hands over it, use their hand to pick charcoals, clean up for their children particularly the women and eventually used these contaminated hands to touch and reposition the roasted corns or plantains to be packaged for customers. A colleague of mine recently had severe diarrhea and he was quick to identify the source; a roadside snack.
These roadside food outlets are making many consumers especially children and women vulnerable to fatal diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and gastroenteritis. The utensils and containers used in making these roadsides ready to make snacks are usually not very clean. For me, I love to eat these snacks but the thought of all these unhygienic handlings deter me from enjoying them.
Well, if you must consume these snacks, chose to buy from sellers you can trust as regards how they handle the issue of hygiene in their production or cooking process.