Suya and Newspaper Wrappers: A Recipe for Health Risks (26th April, 2024)

Suya and Newspaper Wrappers

Suya and Newspaper Wrappers: A Recipe for Health Risks (26th April, 2024)

Beware the Wrap! Nigerian health professionals urge caution against consuming suya (barbecued meat) and other foods wrapped in newspapers or flyers. This practice, they warn, is linked to a higher risk of cancer and other serious health issues.

Toxic Trouble:  The culprit? The ink used in these papers. Experts warn it contains lead and other harmful substances that can seep into food. Lead exposure is bad news, linked to kidney damage, digestive problems, weakened immunity, and even cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights the dangers of high lead exposure, including severe brain and nervous system damage, coma, convulsions, and even death.

Children at Risk: WHO further warns that children who survive severe lead poisoning may face lasting intellectual disabilities and behavioral problems.

Ditch the Newspaper: Wrapping cooked food in newspapers or leaflets is simply unsafe, according to experts interviewed by PUNCH Healthwise. They emphasize that nearly all inks contain lead. These inks also harbor harmful microorganisms that pose a significant health threat when consumed with food.

Ink’s Nasty Ingredients: Olufunmilola Ogunmiluyi, a Chief Dietitian, sheds light on the dangers. Lead, she explains, disrupts blood cell production and calcium absorption, vital for strong bones, teeth, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.
Beyond Lead: The risks go beyond lead. Newspaper ink contains harmful colors, pigments, binders, additives, and preservatives that can contaminate food, even if cooked hygienically. These chemicals can cause digestive issues, weaken the immune system, and potentially lead to organ failure. Newspapers also contain lead, a naturally occurring toxin. Some ink chemicals are themselves carcinogenic.

Safer Alternatives: For safer food wrapping, aluminum foil is the recommended alternative.