If you had told me that in 2020, food safety may be more important than taste in food in the Nigerian context, I may have argued with you till full surrender. If you eat out regularly (local joints, bukas and road side dining), you will understand that food safety is not always priority. Don’t get me wrong, its not a deliberate act to be unsafe, it’s just that the standards are different. You get what you pay for even if that means antibiotics every three months to cleanse your system from typhoid.
Covid Times in Food
The quick service restaurants sometimes fall short in food safety. The bigger dining spaces often have an issue once in a blue moon. Another layer has been added to this already dicey topic. Covid!!! The world has barely figured out how this works. I know that food businesses here in Nigeria are working hard to put measures in place to minimise risk of infection and transmission.
These are however, the somewhat knowledgeable food businesses. Some of these businesses have taken the steps to sanitise their space, deploy hand-washing stations, educate their staff on new methods of operation and most importantly are delivering food to customers.
What happens to the woman on the street selling Akara? Who will educated her on the measures to take to deploy for Covid-19? How does she package her food differently to prevent infection and transmission? Will she switch deliveries? What about the government officials in charge of inspecting? Will they subject her to the same standards as everyone else? Or will our road-side food disappear through natural selection?
I don’t know about you but I have tried to minimise my risk by cooking a lot of my meals. When I am too tired to cook and I order in, I show up with wipes, gloves and a mask. I ensure I am cleaning down the package that has been delivered throughly. The experience of what I am about to taste is not of much concern to me until I am sure I have done a thorough wipe-down. I wonder, does everyone else feel the same way?