Samuel Oyetunde, a cashier working in a new generation bank paid his mother a routine visit. Upon his arrival, he was served his favourite meal of rice, native stew and chicken.
Samuel spooned the food into his mouth, and the taste exploded on his tongue. As he closed his eyes to savour the delicacy, the unbelievable happened. His teeth crushed some stones and sand hidden in the rice. Samuel was filled with disbelief and sadness.
Unfortunately, many of us can identify with Samuel’s plight. Subconsciously, we make ourselves vulnerable by patronizing loose rice sold in open basins in neighbourhood stores and open markets. The danger is that the loose & unpackaged rice we buy in basins are exposed to elements like stones, rodents, insects and importantly easily cross-contaminated with other food items as well as unfavourable sanitary conditions. The solution to this is to buy packaged rice, which has undergone cleaning processes like sortexing and processed in the best hygienic conditions that eliminate all forms of human handling and exposure to contamination.
Buying loose rice exposes consumers to the purchase of cross-contaminated rice which can happen through the transfer of bacteria or other microorganisms from other substances to rice. There are three main types of cross-contamination: food-to-food, equipment-to-food, and people-to-food.
For instance, putting contaminated foods and non-contaminated foods under the same roof can result in food-to-food cross-contamination. This allows harmful bacteria and fungi to spread and populate. Secondly, it is a known fact that bacteria can survive for long periods on surfaces like storage containers and basins when they are not washed properly or unknowingly contaminated with bacteria resulting in equipment to food contamination.
Thirdly, humans can easily transfer harmful bacteria from their bodies or clothes to lose and exposed rice in basins. For example, a person may cough into their hand or touch other food items in the store and continue to sell loose rice without washing their hands in between. This also occurs when several consumers sample the rice by handling it before purchase.
Cross-contamination can have serious consequences as it can compromise consumer health and safety. Proper food safety practices like rice packaging can significantly reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
In Nigeria, some rice manufacturers painstakingly comply with NAFDAC regulations and international food safety standards to protect the integrity of their brands and ensure quality and wholesome rice, but some rice traders in the open market continue to undermine these efforts with loose rice. What then is the way forward?
The answer lies in making informed decisions to purchase only quality, packaged and hygienic rice like Big Bull rice. Big Bull Rice is an indigenous, premium quality parboiled rice. It is sortex-cleaned, stone-free and has a high swelling index. It is produced in a state of the art automated rice milling factory which has eliminated handling to the barest minimum hence giving you rice produced in the highest hygienic condition.
With Big Bull Rice, you are assured of good quality, safety and the great taste of homegrown ingenuity. It is readily available in Open Markets, neighbourhood stores, supermart, Modern Trade, etc. in varying SKUs (50kg, 25kg, 10kg, 5kg, 2.25kg and 750g) to fit consumers’ preferences.