A Professor of food science at the Department of Vocational and Technical Education [VOTEC] of the University of Cape Coast [UCC] Sarah Darkwa is calling on the general public to place utmost priority on their food choice since that can benefit or harm them.
Professor Darkwa says Ghanaians should consider going back to indigenous foods and condiment because they contain better nutritional values than most of the foreign and other packaged food products.
She added that there are some nutrients which are contained in artificial condiments which if not avoided or taken in minute quantities may put individual health at a high risk of a system failure.
Professor Darkwa made the call while delivering her inaugural address on the topic: Food Science; A Sweet Killer of Nutritional Well Being, at the University of Cape Coast.
She said as individuals, “it is important to be good custodians of our bodies”, adding “whatever we take in as food, be it small or large, we need to ensure that it will promote good health in our body”.
Professor (Mrs.) Sarah Darkwa delivering her lecture
Stressing on the use of spices and condiments, Prof Darkwa said consumers need to make the right choice in order to avert health implications.
“Spices and condiments are used in our everyday cooking to add taste, flavor and sometimes colour to food. But are we taking the natural spices or the artificial condiments that are usually parked with monosodium glutamine, sodium chloride and preservatives?
When our grandmothers and mothers passed on, they took away the natural condiments such as ‘prekese’, onions, which they cooked with when some of us were growing up. This generation and that of our children have shifted completely from using the natural spices our mothers used to all kinds of artificial spices and condiments which in our minds makes the food sweet, but in reality, behind the sweetness, kills us slowly”. Prof. Darkwa bemoaned.
According to her, there is the need for consumers to check the nutritional values of packaged food products in order to make a well informed decision about what they take in. She also stressed on the need for food producers to adhere to strict hygienic conditions in their production process to prevent contamination.
University community and general public present at the lecture
Prof. Darkwa further revealed that, there are some natural food product in Ghana which has rich nutritional values, but are often relegated to the background at the expense of importing foreign ones that drain state coffers and possess health threat to consumers especially infants.
Professor (Mrs.) Sarah Darkwa being congratulated by UCC Vice Chancellor - Prof. Joseph Ghartey Ampiah
She said “the orange flesh sweet potato, provides high level of vitamin A to women and young children. Just one small balled roots provides 100% of the recommended daily dosage of vitamin ‘A’”.
She added that “in Ghana, infants, during their postnatal visits, are giving drops of vitamin ‘A’, imported into Ghana with hard earned money. This orange fleshed sweet potato is very rich in vitamin ‘A’ and it could help our income”.
Professor (Mrs.) Sarah Darkwa with her family
Professor (Mrs.) Sarah Darkwa until her inaugural lecture, elevating her to the status of a full Professor has taught courses in Food Science, Nutrition and Environmental Science since 2000.
She holds a BSc in Agriculture Science from the University of Ghana, an MPhil in Food Science from the University of Ghana and a PhD in Environmental Science, specializing in the area of Environmental systems and Risk Management from the State University of New York in the USA.
She has taught and successfully supervised many undergraduate students’ projects and theses. Her research interests are in Food Science, Nutrition and Health, and Environmental Systems and Risk Management.
Prof Darkwa served as the Head of department of the Vocational and Technical Education from 2010 to 2013 and is currently the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology Education Studies of the University of Cape Coast.
Source : Kojo Dei & Joseph Amoah / ATL FM NEWS