The department of food science and Technology at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology is worried about dwindling nutrients in foods.

Head, Dr. Isaac Ofosu says the use of heat and other scientific methods to preserve food is largely to blame.

Speaking at the 2020 KNUST food festival, Dr. Ofosu argues scientific and technological advancement has done little to ensure food security and safety.

KNUST food festival Dr Isaac Owusu

Dr. Isaac Ofosu

“The nutrients in our foods are dwindling! This is indeed an alarming distress call, isn’t it? Well, by today’s standards, the principles in food science and technologies have provided ways to deploy strategies to preserve foods and also store them over a long period of time in a reasonably perfect state.

“For such high levels of scientific advancements, our foods should have been safe for consumption. However, in several places, in rich and poor homes, in advanced nations and developing countries, there seems to be a regular call to food security and safety.

“Sadly, this call should have been a clear case of anachronism by today’s standards, judging from the great strides we have made into the scientific world, however, the situation remains precarious. Let us take a step back and consider ancient times when man was living in caves and fire had not been discovered,” he explains.

He says though research into foods has increased he points out poverty, greed and climate change continue to fight food security and safety.

“For instance, in order to solve the problem of storage and preservation of farm produce, agro-chemical industries have produced pesticides, with the hope that these biocides would help preserve our foods.

“Careful observation, however, reveals that though the methods of application of these agro-chemicals have been clearly labelled. In most cases their applications are often flouted by our farmers, either out of poverty, illiteracy, or sheer greed.

“Can one imagine a case where farmers are supposed to wait for at least two weeks before harvest, but because of greed they apply chemicals today and harvest tomorrow?  How about another case where middlemen connive with farmers to mix several agro-chemicals together and spray farm produce thinking that when the produce are glossy the market value would be premium,” he noted

Dr, Ofosu believes solutions aimed at government policy to poverty reduction will be crucial lessening the situation.

“Poverty must be addressed as the key root cause of the problems we face. Food scientists, nutritionists and dietitians must be at the forefront of government policy to produce safe food for the masses.

Quite often, policy makers think that when the belly is full then there is no hunger. Thus, they spend all their energies in food production.

However, we know that there is hidden hunger resulting from lack of micronutrients which the mass production of food does not take into account,” he recommended.

KNUST food festival

The festival was under the theme: promoting our food and culture for sustainable development.

The food festival in its fourth year is aimed at celebrating Ghana’s diverse food heritage and reintegrate value into the food system and culture.

The event saw the display of various food items from the 16 regions of Ghana.

Ivorian dish like Kedjenou was featured. Opa and Gizzard sauce from Nigeria and Cameroun’s Yam and egusi pudding were available for participants to have a taste.

It is organized in collaboration with the colleges of Science and Humanities and social sciences.

Event sponsor, Maggi presented hampers to groups which came tops which the Ashanti region won the overall best.