The Central Regional Office of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has engaged Kenkey sellers on best practices and procedures of producing Kenkey at Yamoransa in the Mfantseman Municipality for consumer safety.
This was at the back of a recent research conducted on the production of Kenkey which revealed a serious threat to human health and needed urgent attention to safeguard the health of consumers.
It came out that some producers were wrapping the mixture of corn dough in flexible plastic films (polyethylene) before boiling which gave way for chemicals and toxins in the rubber to contaminate the Kenkey.
These chemicals have also been linked to a range of health problems, including cancer, reproductive issues, and damage to the immune system.
Madam Franscisca Obeng, Acting Regional Head of the FDA who led a team to interact with the women, explained how health practitioners had on countless times spoke against the use of polyethylene in the production of Kenkey, linking it to increased cancer cases in the country.
She, therefore, advised the Kenkey producers to desist from using the illegal method and go back to the traditional method of using all leaves to wrap Kenkey for consumer safety.
“Plasticizers such as bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates have been linked to various health problems, including hormonal imbalances, reproductive issues, and cancer,”
She further indicated that when plastics were heated, plasticizers could leach into the food they are in contact with, causing food contamination.
Another concern is the release of dioxins and furans, which are toxic chemicals that can form when polystyrene plastics are heated to high temperatures.
The Acting Head and her team took the Kenkey sellers through the proper uses of plastic packaging materials in food production in the markets and homes and admonished them to make sure their hot foods, at the point of sale, were not primarily wrapped in plastic bags.
The team with placards, some of which read ‘stop wrapping kenkey with polyethylene’ and ‘don’t use your dirty oil to prepare shito’ paraded the streets of Yamoransa to educate pedestrians and passengers to avoid rubber wrapped Kenkey for their own safety.
Madam Adoma Amanda, a Kenkey seller at Yamoransa in an interview claimed that the rubber extends the shelf life of the kenkey as it prevents moulds from forming directly on the kenkey.
She raised concerns on how they incurred losses without the rubbers which could last for only three days instead of two weeks with the rubber wrappers.
Madam Amanda pleaded with the government to support Kenkey production and assist food scientists to come out with the best method that would extend the life span of Kenkey on the shelf.
She hoped the FDA’s sensitisation exercise would go down well with consumers to purchase only the traditional leaves packaging.
A section of the sellers told the GNA that those who export Kenkey preferred the polyethylene wrapper because they had to remove all the leaves to lighten the weight to help reduce taxes at the airport.
The sellers have pleaded with authorities to bring out alternative methods to replace the polyethylene packaging to help them make good sales and protect consumers.