In case you didn’t know, red meat causes cancer, according to a recent World Health Organisation report. That includes pork, lamb, beef and presumably goat. Processed meats should especially be avoided according to the study.
To be honest, I’ve always known that processed and some canned foods aren’t the healthiest choices, given the cocktail of chemicals thrown in there to preserve the food for as long as humanly possible.
I wasn’t always skeptical about these foods, many of which happen to be imported, but ever since that infamous story a few years ago of horse meat passed for beef across Europe, I now think twice before picking up pre-packaged foods.
It’s a bit tricky though, especially if you don’t always have time to visit a local market to pick up fresh food, let alone cook. Ready-to-eat foods are my go-to because all you need to do is warm them up and dinner is ready.
However with that convenience comes risk.
Anyone who has bought apple juice only to pour it into a glass and it is a bright orange when even genetically modified apples only have red skins knows the danger of processed foods. On two occasions, I suffered serious bouts of food poisoning after binging on sausages and corned beef. I should have known worse was to come from the rusty smell and taste, clear signs that the beef had been in there far too long.
Some of these items don’t even have expiry dates or if they do, they’re too small to make out and in a rush to get home, you say a quick prayer and hope for the best. Sometimes I worry about mad cow disease.
What if a producer from Asia, South America or wherever somehow managed to smuggle their unapproved goods into our local supermarkets? I always read about product recalls in the developed world but not Africa.
Who’s looking out for us? There’s also the issue of ingredients.
Hard to tell what goes into ground beef for instance. I have friends who will only have minced meat they ground in their kitchens and I don’t blame them. Some fried dog and frog stories are actually true. Also, have you ever been to an abattoir? I visited one as part of a school trip once and after about an hour of staring at trickles of blood, flies, heads, tails and hooves, I thought I would turn vegetarian.
I recovered a few days later and I think that had a lot to do with my insatiable love for meat. If I could eat beef daily, I would. No pork, lamb and the like though. Just beef and occasionally goat.
I don’t think I’ll ever give up meat. I can cut back on processed meats and only have samosas and meat balls at parties, which thankfully I don’t attend often but like every meat lover will tell you, there’s nothing like a serving of tender beef stew or a tasty plate of roast nyama choma!