Naija Foodie Update

FOODIE NAIJA UPDATE (HOW FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS LAND NIGERIANS IN HOSPITALS)

The rush for profit by the operators of the multimillion naira fast food industry has
become the greatest undoing of Nigerians as hygiene and
sanitation are relegated to the
background, leaving Nigerians vulnerable to infections. AGBO-
PAUL AUGUSTINE in this report reveals the ugly side of fast food services, Ever wondered what happens behind your mouth watery face
of a fast food?

The millions of
Nigerians that daily depend on the over N190 billion quick
service restaurants (QSR) industry never for once pause to ask themselves, much more and jab an answer to this question.
The millions of visitors to these
food places across the country have their trust put in the hands of a few men and women in these sprawling and money
spinning empire.

Investigations by LEADERSHIP Weekend has revealed that QSRs are now one of Nigeria’s biggest
infection centres, serving meals
contaminated, and continue to land Nigerians in hospitals and clinics. As Nigeria economy grows to a
competitive global recognition as
Africa’s largest economy with about 510 billion dollars come a harvest of middle and the upper
classes of people with little time for homemade foods.

The implication of that growth is the high demand for ready-made food in eateries, spinning out
monies to the chagrin of industry operators, who appear to have
lost all sense of hygiene and public safety. Outdoor eating method existed in Nigeria long ago but it was the United African Company (UAC)
that brought social class to the sector when it ventured through its subsidiary, Mr Biggs with the opening of it first restaurant at
Marina, Lagos in 1986.

Since then, like wild fire it spread to major cities and town, across Nigeria carrying with it the
baggage of sweet saviours and the dangers associated with it.
LEADERSHIP Weekend can authoritatively reveal that Nigerians are being served with unwholesome meals in several of
these restaurants visited. Among
the discoveries are filthy environment, especially areas of
production where hygiene is appalling, staff condition is
scaring including their health status, unsure source of food
items, including meat, fish and other vital supplies and customer lavatories among others.

Other areas are the state of meals served especially those
served in the early hours, state of food and raw material
preservations and storage facilities, drainage and sewage
leakages into boreholes and the
total absence of supervision from
local authorities in charge due to
pervasive corruption among the spectrums of mind bugling
abnormalities in the food industry.
Many visitors to fast food joints often get infected by food
poisoning but mostly, had no idea of where or when they contracted the infections and
these have led to many hospitalised and even death. The
common bacterium in food according to medical experts is
staphylococcus or E.coli. Other germs and toxins that may cause food poisoning include campylobacter enteritis, cholera,
salmonella and shigella.

“I told her to stop touching her boils in the face and at the same time touching the food she was
to serve me but I was shocked, the young lady simply ignored
my caution and continued. As a man who has good knowledge in medicine, I knew there was danger lurking in the meal so I left without buying the meal,” says Aminu Sarki, a Zaria based medical worker. For Sarki, thanks to his
knowledge in health sciences, many other Nigerians would not
mind the scenario that warranted his decision not to buy the meal, though tantalizing and wetting his appetite but the consequences according to him
was high.

When LEADERSHIP Weekend visited some eateries in Kano, it appeared most of the food
vendors were only interested in profit making than keeping to standard. Of particular interest
was the scene at a popular eatery along Niger Street in the
metropolis, where cobweb was
threatening the meals displayed. With just a few inches to the display counter, spiders had a web and restaurant staff never bothered. When LEADERSHIP
Weekend called the attention of the staff on duty to the ugly
scene, he simply said: ‘don’t mind them, its only money the owners are after’.
On further interrogation, he
revealed that since the parent company in Lagos decided to
franchise the brand to individual investors, the fortunes of the
brand nosedived. According to him there are too many
malpractices in the restaurant.

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