General News of Tuesday, 13 June 2006

Source: The Crusading Guide

Ghanaians eating maggots?

Accra, June 13 (Crusading Guide) -- Creamy and crispy Malt n Milk, Cleo Digestive, Wafer and Sweety biscuits are hot confectionaries for children and adults in the homes of most Ghanaians and other African countries. Cocktail parties buffet, wedding ceremonies ad other social gatherings, are spiced up with these tasty and nutritionally rich biscuits.

Little do people know, however, that when they eat these biscuits, they are indirectly gulping down roasted maggots, worm, weevils, termites and fungi. A company, Eurofood (Gh) Limited, situated off the Spintex Road in Accra, is where these unwholesome biscuits and others like Anibal, Bolo, Fitini, Baba Junior, Mobile, are produced.

The owners of the company, knowing very well that the flour used for producing the confectionaries had expired and could pose health hazard to unsuspecting consumers, put pressure on the labourers to work day and night so as to finish the over 1000 bags which had been stocked in the warehouse near the production room. Products of Eurofood can be found in the markets of Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Cote D'ivore and other West African countries.

The flour was produced by Grand Moulins of France under the brand name Melissa; but had been left to go bad. It weighs 50 kg and the expiry date on it is June 2006. Workers of the company said that they spotted the worms in the flour over two months ago. "In this company we do not sieve flour before using it; we pour it straight into the mixer, but in this particular case, we sieve the content of every sack because of the worms and insects. In every sack you find a lot of worms.

After sieving them we empty the maggots and the other little creatures into a big dustbin outside. These are direct instructions from the owners of the company.

I once reported it to some of our supervisors, Makoo, Kasim and Ellem, to advise management on what we were seeing but nothing has been done so far about it and we are quiet, because if you make small noise, you will be fired the next day and that will mean no food for your family", said Kwame Ansah, one of the labourers.

Paul Anum, a casual worker, said that he was always hurt on seeing that the products of Eurofood bear the inscription "Made in Ghana, "Foreigners must respect the people of this country. "These foreigners would not manufacture such bad products in their own countries. Infact, they don't even eat their own country biscuits produced by their own company. They buy other biscuits from super markets for their family while they produce these unwholesome products for Ghana and other countries", Anum lamented.

The World Health Organisation in a risk analysis report in 2002 (Geneva Switzerland, WHO/CDS/CSR EPH 2002.21) stated that the symptoms of food poisoning from such maggots can vary.

"Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrheoa, and sometimes fever. Occasionally, food poisoning can be very serious and even cause death. The length of the incubation period depends on the type of bacteria and how many are swallowed. It could be hours or days. The bacteria stick to the lining of the intestine and destroy the cells, either by sheer weight or numbers or by the toxins (poisons) they produce. Sometimes these toxins are absorbed and cause damage elsewhere in the body" the report said.

As at press time yesterday, the Ghana Police upon information by the Crusading Guide invited Ghana Television News team and stormed the premises of Eurofood to see things for themselves.

The operation was led by Chief Superintendent J K Agboada, Deputy Director, Police Operations. The Police, Ghana Standards Board and the Food and Drugs Board as a result of the shock they saw on the spot, immediately closed the place down, pending further directives from the top hierarchy of the Ghana Police Service.