Raw Food Additives and Preservation among Traders in Enugu Metropolis
Background: Food additives and preservation methods are practices employed during the production or processing of food, to improve its appearance, taste, and other qualities of concern. While some of these provide nutritional benefits or improve food safety, others are known to pose potential health risks and cause harm to the human body.
Objective: The overall objective of this study is to profile and analyze the practice and perception of health effects of raw food additives and preservation methods, among traders in Enugu metropolis.
Methodology: New market and Old Artisan were the two markets selected in Enugu North Local Government Area, from which 402 raw food traders were selected using a multi staged sampling method. A semi structured questionnaire was administered over two weeks in this descriptive cross-sectional study to traders who deal in palm oil, beans, maize, rice, pawpaw, orange and banana (at least 57 traders per food item).
Result: A total of 402 traders (minimum of 57 for each food item) were studied. commonest practice for preventing palm oil spoilage was by Enugu metropolis traders was by addition of salt [21 traders (36.8%)], and for reddening their oil, addition of red food color (tartrazine)[24 traders (42.1%)], while For improving the quantity of their palm oil, water was added [15 traders (26.3%)]. To improve taste, the commonest additive was salt [23 traders (40.4%)]. The commonest preservation method used for grains against weevil by Enugu metropolis traders is use of pesticides; beans [8 - 23 traders (14.0% - 40.4%)]. The commonest additive added in grains to prevent spoilage by Enugu traders is Aluminum Phosphide; [9 - 27 traders (15.8% - 47.4%)]. The commonest additive used by Enugu metropolis traders to ripen their fruits was Calcium carbide (3.4% - 19.0%). The commonest methods employed in ripening fruits among Enugu traders was wrapping in an airtight polythene bag [4 - 29 traders, (6.9% - 50.0%)]. Red paint was the commonest additive perceived to be harmful by palm oil traders (11, 19.3%). This is followed closely by red food color tartrazine (8, 14.0%). DDVP was the commonest additive perceived to be harmful by most grain sellers [8 - 16 out of 57 respondents (14.0% - 28.1%)] . Calcium carbide was the commonest fruit additive perceived to be harmful by most fruit sellers [1 - 7 out of 57 respondents (1.7% - 12.1%)].
Conclusion: Overall, the use of unsafe additives and preservation methods were noted among the respondents. Many of whom did not perceive any harmfulness associated with the use of these additives. The findings agree with several similar studies in the past, and recommendations to the traders, consumers, governmental and non-governmental agencies have therefore been made.
Keywords:Public Health, Food safety, Food practice
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