A research report indicating that Brukina, a locally made nuts and cereal drink, contains aflatoxins is seriously affecting the sale of the product in the Kumasi metropolis.
Producers and sellers of the drink, which was said to be a traditional beverage of the Moshie people, but now being enjoyed by many Ghanaians, are lamenting over the low sales since the report was made public by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) last week.
The Research outcome by NMIMR was that the drink contained aflatoxins, a substance that could cause cancer, and thus poses severe threat to public health.
‘Brukina’ is a local drink made of groundnut, millet and pasteurised milk and is popularly produced in the northern regions of the country.
Indigenes from the north, who have settled in the southern parts of the country and know how to prepare the beverage, have taken it as a business which is attracting high patronage from the people.
However, since the research report was made public in the media, the demand for the product has gone down drastically in the Kumasi metropolis.
Ghana News Agency’s visit to some Zongo communities in Kumasi where the drink was mostly found, revealed that people were not buying it as they used to.
Some young girls, who sold the beverage on the streets for their daily living, said the research report had made a serious negative impact on their sales.
Hadizah Muhammed and Nefisah Issah both sellers of ‘Brukina’, said they had travelled from the North to Kumasi to sell the drink many years ago, but since the media announcement that the drink was not good for the health of the people, their sales had been very slow.
“We could make sales of GH₵100 a day but now I sell only GH₵20 the whole day,” they lamented.
Hajia Nafisah a producer of ‘Brukina’ at ‘Sofoline’ in Kumasi argued that the drink was produced with powdered milk, millet and a little sugar and there was no harm in it.
“I have been in this business for 25 years, now I’m losing my source of livelihood”, she lamented.
She said they no longer use cow milk which could pose a threat to humans and emphasized that the drink was healthy, and it should be patronised.
Hajia Nafisah called on the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to come to their aid and test the products in order to give assurance to the public.
According to her, millet and maize do not cause any cancer
Meanwhile, Professor. Regina Appiah Oppong, a Toxicologist and Chief Scientist at the NMIMR, had stressed the need for farmers to be trained on appropriate storage methods of farm produce, especially maize and other cereals to prevent contamination.
Speaking to journalists on the research report, she also called on the regulatory agencies to discharge their mandates effectively to safeguard the public from aflatoxin exposure.