Increased death rate has been linked to excessive iron content in certain local dishes such as ‘Banku’, ‘Akple’ Porridge (mole koko) in Ghana.
This has been established through a research conducted to determine the quality and safety of food prepared from grinded corn through the use of corn mill.
The researcher, Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical and Material Engineering in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Professor Samuel Kwofie with in-depth background in the study of the properties of metals and engineering, indicated that locally made corn mill plate are of poor quality.
In his research, he analysed local corn-mill plates manufactured in Ghana to investigate the cause of their early wear and failure and the results were compared with those of imported plates manufactured in countries such as India and UK. It was found that locally-manufactured plates wear between about 3-10 times faster than the foreign ones.
In the study, Maize was milled either ‘wet’ or ‘‘dry’’ using locally-manufactured milling plates. Samples of milled maize were taken and analyzed for elemental iron (Fe). Results showed that iron particles from milling plates contaminates the milled maize and that the level of contamination increases with the quantity of milled maize. However, the relationship between the mass of elemental iron (Fe) in milled maize and mass of milled maize in ‘wet’ milling differed from that of ‘dry’ milling.
Professor Samuel Kwofie revealed this in an interview with Nana Kwado Jantua on The Teknokrat on Focus FM. According to him, In ‘dry’ milling the rate of metal loss decreases at first and then increases with mass of milled maize, whereas in ‘wet’ milling, the rate increases monotonically with mass of milled maize.
He stated that, majority of maize milling shops and operators in Ghana use their locally-manufactured plates and only a few use imported plates. The reasons for the high patron-age of the local plates stem from the fact that they are relatively inexpensive and easily avail-able.
He further explained, stating that Several ‘’Suame-Kumasi’’ foundries manufacture iron grinding plates for use in corn-mills, but most of the foundry-workers have little knowledge of metallurgy. As a result, Locally-made plates can wear out 3-10 times faster than foreign imports, and thus shed iron filings into the milled corn.
”one day’s worth of corn meal may contain up to 5 times more iron than is recommended for daily consumption, and this excess is hazardous to the body’s metabolism which leads to cancer and complications resulting in death among many Ghanaians”, he stated
Professor Samuel suggested that special training should be given out to local manufacturers in order to enable them manufacture the right iron plates to be used for grinding corn.
According to him, he has a solution to the problem, but needs the support of government in terms of funding to be able to produce a lot more of the right iron plates to be used
Source: John Essien/focusfmonline.com