Don’t wrap kenkey in plastic …chemical can cause severe health problems – Dr Afriyie warns

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie has warned caterers to stop the usage of polythene in wrapping corn dough used in preparing kenkey.

He said studies have found that certain chemicals in the plastic could leach out of the plastic into the kenkey and cause severe health problems such as metabolic disorders (including obesity) and reduced fertility.

• Dr Kwaku Afriyie (middle)with some of the caterers.
• Dr Kwaku Afriyie (middle)with some of the caterers.

Dr Afriyie was speaking at a meeting with caterers’ association on plastic management in Accra yesterday.

“Boiling food, especially kenkey in plastics, poses a serious health hazard to consumers. This leaching can occur even faster and to a greater degree when plastic is exposed to heat,” he stated.

Dr Afriyie noted that before the invention of these banku rubbers, our old folks stored banku for more than a week without spoilage and any health hazards.

“As a matter of fact, they rather used materials that had the potential to add other health benefits to the banku,” he added.

Dr Afriyie indicated that he was liaising with the Local Government Ministry, the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to pass bye laws and notices that would see to the arrest of persons found involving in such acts.

Meanwhile, he said what was required in the interim was the intensification of public education and sensitisation on the effects of using plastics in cooking.

Dr Afriyie encouraged the caterers present at the meeting to as a matter of urgency put an abrupt stop to such practices if they were culpable.

He also urged them to send out a word of caution to their colleagues who were involved in same and educate them on the effects they had come to know.

Dr Afriyie underscored that it was therefore crucial that we reverted to our old ways of preparing kenkey to save our lives as copying blindly was not going to do us any good than bad. p

BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR

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