Food poisoning is a common, yet distressing and sometimes life-threatening problem for millions of people in Nigeria and throughout the world. People infected with food-borne organisms may be symptom-free or may have symptoms ranging from mild intestinal discomfort to severe dehydration and bloody diarrhea. Depending on the type of infection, people can even die as a result of food poisoning.
There are a few ways to avoid food poisoning such as…
1.THOROUGHLY COOK YOUR FOOD
Dr’s recommend to use a thermometer to check food temperature. Africans don’t go to such lengths to ensure the food is properly cooked. We all know the biggest culprits are meat, eggs and dairy therefore cooking these all the way through is a surefire way to escape food poisoning. In the average home, these foods are usually boiled for more than double the amount of time recommended which naturally results in bacteria, viruses and toxins being long dead by the time the food is consumed.
Ask anyone, African are NOT fans of eating meat ‘RARE’; that translates to RAW food in their minds. Therefore rare poultry, pork, burgers, nuggets, kebabs and rolled-up foods are simply not an option in most homes.
2. START COOKING FROM SCRATCH
Among family and friends, many brag about slow-cooking meals to arrive at the best taste possible. Don’t even get us started on all of that prep time that’s involved BEFORE the food ever gets on the stove.
Allow me to paint you a picture: To wash meats, an average Nigerian would not only thoroughly run every piece through clean water, but after doing so, also proceed to parboil the meat and drain the water prior to seasoning to ensure the meat is thoroughly clean. Oh and wait, then many would add a dash of lemon lime to ‘kill off’ any lingering dirt never mind they still plan on cooking the heck out of it within minutes. In such an environment, please tell me how any harmful organisms can outlive that!
3. BUY YOUR MEAT FROM WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE ENTIRE ANIMAL
Ground beef, supermarket pre-packaged beef are typically not considered great buys at the average African home. They need to see the bones, the head, the intestines and yes – the blood or you can’t convince them the meat comes from a cow, goat or any other animal which was once alive. For most families, this is also true if you’re purchasing poultry, fish or pork.
Several families have no trouble paying more for food and would travel further from home to go directly to a butcher or even buy live animals, have them chopped and carefully store in a deep freezer till ready to eat.
4. BUY YOUR MEAT WHERE YOU CAN SEE IT ALIVE
Watching your fish swim only seconds before they are deposited in your cooking pot might not be something city folk is used to, but most African families are as country as it gets – within city limits – when it comes to getting the best possible food money can buy.
Several Asian, Afro-Caribbean, Arab grocery shops sell live poultry, fish, crustaceans from tanks and after enjoying the bonus thrill of watching the animals in their natural environment before they end up in your food, the shop attendants would allow you to take your pick of their active merchandise, help you cut them up, de-clawed or de-finned all while-you-wait. What a treat right?
When news broke that horse meat was detected in some store-bought meat and everyone was thrown into a panic, Africans just rested back with a smug look which says it all. “Oh gee! glad I don’t eat that stuff.”
5. TONE DOWN ON EATING FOOD YOU DON’T KNOW
Trust is a big reason why Africans would rather stick with the foods their palates are already used to – then taste is the next factor. The deep flavor of African cuisine is distinct and when your buds are trained for well-seasoned, slow-cooked, outdoor-grilled deliciousness, processed foods simply taste bland.
Right from childhood, infants born to many moms who ate deeply favored foods during pregnancy overwhelmingly refuse to eat off-the-shelf processed foods. This is a fact!
Because of their discriminatory palate, people born of African descent are less likely to get sick from random food choices.