Moi moi cooked in cellophane is dangerous

unnamed The Nigerian minister of  agriculture  Mr Audu Ogbeh has advised the citizens against eating moi moi  cooked in cellophane because it is poisonous. The minister was quoted by a channels TV presenter kayode Akintemi on his twitter handle. Many people have wondered how true the claim is considering the fact that they have been eating it over the years without any negative effect on their health.

What people don’t know is that cellophane and plastic are hydrocarbons derived from crude oil.  Most plastic food and drink containters contains a chemical called bisphenol A ( BPA). It is also found in epoxy resins used in coating the inner lining of food cans. These chemicals are released into the food when heated.  Just like any other chemical composition, when plastics are heated, they become unstable and releases these chemicals.

The major question is how safe are the levels of BPA seen in our plastic bottles? BPA is a synthetic estrogen that can disrupt the hormone system, particularly when exposures occur while babies are still in the womb or in early life. Even miniscule exposures increase risks for breast cancer, prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty, metabolic disorders and type-2 diabetes.

Braun,et al 2009, 2011;  as cited in breastcancerfunds.com stated that exposure of humans to BPA is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease, miscarriages, decreased birth weight at term, breast and prostate cancer, reproductive and sexual dysfunctions, altered immune system activity, metabolic problems and diabetes in adults, and cognitive and behavioral development in young children.

Nigerians in the olden days usually prepared moi moi using banans leaves.  This is a healthier option as the leaves releases antioxidants and good flavour into the food. In recent years, people have moved away from the use of leaves and  now embraced plastics due to its convenience. The leaves are not easily available and also not easy to preserve. Although different types of plastics are produced and used for different purposes. BPA free plastic are costly and not readily available. To be on a safer side its best to avoid heating any plastic containers with food in it or cause it to become hot by leaving it under the sun. Food should rather be cooked or warmed using   ceramic container’s, stainless still pots and pans.

Pregnant women should take extra precaution as these plastic chemicals affect the unborn child.  The FDA has banned BPA from baby bottles and infant formula packaging. Some studies suggest that possible effects from BPA could be most pronounced in infants and young children. Their bodies are still developing and they are less efficient at eliminating substances from their system. webMD.com.

Plastics should be kept out of the micro wave. Even so-called “microwave safe” plastic can leach chemicals into your food when it gets hot. Glass or ceramic containers should be used for re-heating food in microwaves. Food  should not be covered  with plastic wrap when it’s being microwaved ; rather a ceramic plate or an unbleached paper towel or napkin should be used.

Bottled water and water packaged in flexible working nylon are not exempted from these chemicals.
Avoid Bottled Water when Possible. Go for the tap (or the filtered tap). . Use a real glass for drinking at home, and pick up a reusable stainless-steel water bottle for drinks on the go. (It’s also better for the environment!)

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1 Response

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