Expert warns against food contamination, urges personal hygiene

A food scientist, Dr Oyelakin, M. Oyeniyi, has warned Nigerians against food contamination. This he said is the cause of major health problems and at the same time reduced economic growth.

Oyeniyi, who gave the warning during a presentation to members of the Fitcrown Enterprise on how to prevent Cholera, however advised Nigerians on proper storage processes that would help prevent contamination through insanitary objects to food, food-packing materials and other food-contact surfaces.

According to Oyeniyi, who also is a Chief Research Officer and the Officer-In-Charge of Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) Sapele Outstation, Delta State, “Food contamination, either from microbiological or chemical origin, is a major concern for consumers. It can cause catastrophic health and economic effects.

“Food-borne illnesses cause major international health problems and reduced economic growth. Food contamination incidents, whether intentional or unintentional, can have direct consequences for both the customer who eats it and the business who sold it.

“Food contaminants may be regarded as every substance not intentionally added to the food, but found inside the food during the production process, farming practices, treatment, packaging, transport, storage of food, or from environmental sources,” he said.

On how it can be prevented, the researcher said, “Wash surfaces, hands and often. Harmful bacteria can enter throughout the kitchen and get onto utensils, cutting boards, and countertops.

“To prevent contamination, wash hands with soap and hot water before and after handling food, changing diapers; handling pets and after using the bathroom,” he said.

“Ensuring the supply of safe food products is important to protect public health and the food industry. Protecting the general public from the danger of contaminated foods has become an uphill task.

“Food contamination is a main cause educated consumers complain against manufacturers, resulting in loss of brand loyalty. Food-borne illness is a giant, expensive challenge for big or small food companies because it has serious consequences for the health and wellbeing of people and the planet.

“The early detection of agricultural food crop contamination poses a challenging task. The task of identifying the contaminants, weather coming from the food production, or food processing or the packaging, is still a challenge. Contaminated meat and poultry (beef, chicken, pork, ham, turkey, etc.) still pose a health threat to the United States,” he said.