WHEN SCIENCE MEETS CULTURE
Yesterday I informed my cousin that the tomato ketchup he bought is no longer healthy to eat. He asked me how because last time he checked the expiry date was next year. Then I showed him where it is written that once opened, you should keep refrigerated and consume within four weeks. W h a t! he screamed, are you saying that I should go throw it into the dustbin? he inquired. No, ‘I’ didn’t say anything, the people that manufactured it said and before they came up with that I think they must have conducted some research because apparently they cared for your health. Oh! enough of this. Bacteria and what have you do not kill Africans, we have a good thick blood and don’t let this ‘Oyibo’ people deceive you. How can you say that something that the taste and smell have not changed is no longer fit for consumption? At that he took the container into the shelf and told me to leave him alone. You know that feeling you get when you want to save a loved one from an impending doom and the person is attempting to delve in head first? that was how I felt, totally defeated.
There is this unwritten rule generally in our country, especially among the poor and illiterate; that if they can be able to purchase something – no matter what that is, and along the line they discover it is fake or even expired, then consuming it would not have any negative effect on them. The argument is that since they used their money to buy it they have indirectly paid their dues to mother earth. Therefore, if anything should happen as a result of the seller selling an expired product, it is the seller and not them that should be punished (some how related to the saying “Oji ofo g’ana.” i.e He who has justice gets free (unharmed)).
This is why when you go to the rural areas, you find many expired food products; sometimes it could be their inability to read the label or plain decision to sell it so as not to lose their money. Whichever way the result is the same; the final consumer’s health is harmed.
The many consequences of consuming expired or spoilt food products could range from kidney infection to diarrhea, among other things. Non of the outcome is fair. ‘Instead of it to remain in the pot let it be in my stomach’ as we say it here is not wise. Let the one that is fit to stay in the stomach be allowed in and the one that is not discarded.
Prevention they say is better than cure. Stay alive, stay healthy!
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