The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has cautioned the public against consuming unwholesome canned foods, since that can result in food poisoning.
According to the Head of the Food Industrial Support Services Department at the FDA, Mr Ebenezer Kofi Essel, any canned food that was dented, bulged out, rusted, sweating, leaking or expired could be poisonous and dangerous to one’s health.
“Whenever a canned product is dented, bulged out or rusted, the lacquer gets broken and parts of the metal The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has cautioned the public against consuming unwholesome canned foods since that can result in food poisoning.
According to the Head of Food Industrial Support Services Department at the FDA, Mr Ebenezer Kofi Essel, any canned food that was either dented, bulged out, rusted, sweating, leaking or expired could be poisonous and dangerous to one’s health.
“Whenever a canned product is dented, bulged out or rusted, the lacquer gets broken and parts of the metal get into the food and render it poisonous.
“Most often, bulged products have already expired and bad for consumption,” he told The Mirror in an interview in Accra.
Mr Essel explained that every canned product had a lining called a lacquer that protected the metal used in producing the can from having contact with the food.
He indicated that canned foods that were not processed well might contain clostridium botulinum bacteria which might lead to paralysis and most times death when consumed, saying it usually happened during the processing or production stages.
Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum for short) is a bacterium found in the environment. It grows in places where oxygen levels are low and can produce a very dangerous toxin.
Common foods that can be contaminated with C. botulinum include home-canned and bottled foods and vacuum-packed foods that have not been processed properly; fermented, salted and smoked meat and seafood; and (in the case of infant botulism) honey.
For those that were dented, for instance, he stated that in most cases, the lacquer would have been broken, giving way for the metal to have direct contact with the food.
Mr Essel, therefore, advised consumers to look out for certain key information on any product, including canned foods before purchasing on the market.
He said there was the need to look out for the labelling information to know the product’s country of origin, date markings and the ingredients used in manufacturing the product to avoid taking in canned products that might be harmful to the body.
Later in a chat with The Mirror, some consumers expressed varied opinions about canned foods.
Mr Lord Andoh said he usually did not check anything on products before buying them.
“Every canned product is a product, the most important thing for me is the food and not the can. In fact, I can’t remember reading any label on a canned food,” he added.
Mr Paa Kwesi Ennison told The Mirror that he did not mind buying dented products but he checked other features of the product before buying.
“Whenever I go out to buy a canned product, I check the brand, expiry date, its appearance and rusting features before I buy it,” he said.
A Principal Dietician at the Trust Hospital in Accra, Mr Wise C. Letsa, also told The Mirror that those who consumed unwholesome canned foods did so at the expense of their lives as they were associated with a lot of health risks.
He explained that “consuming unwholesome products such as dented, bulged, expired, rusted and leaking processed foods or canned foods may lead to food-borne diseases such as diarrhoea and vomiting, which lead to dehydration and as such affect the kidney and liver”.
He added that for canned and other processed foods, their safety must be a source of concern to everyone to ensure that the food content was still safe for consumption.
According to him, eating unwholesome foods might even lead to cancer and at times death.
“Do not store food in opened cans because once a can is opened, air and water interact with the food, resulting in contaminations and giving bacteria the right environment to grow,” he emphasised.
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