Food dangers

Vivien Counsell Mitchell, Serua | Saturday, June 3, 2017

EDITOR-IN-Chief Fred Wesley asks why people would knowingly continue to eat food that was poisonous (FT 31 May 2017) despite the danger.

The case in point was consumption of moray eel (dabea) by villagers in northern Vanua Levu, many of whom became ill after sharing a "feast" of the fish recently.

In another article, someone from the village was even quoted as saying that this event (poisoning from eating dabea) had happened before.

So despite previous experience and against advice from Sanaila Naqali, deputy secretary for the Ministry of Fisheries to avoid eating fish known to be poisonous, villagers decided to risk ill-health or even death by consuming the fish, because they had "a craving".

Similar advice is being given to people across the country about our nationwide craving for sweetness.

While most would reasonably argue sugar is not a poison when taken in moderate doses, judging by the numbers of late-onset diabetes cases in the country, sugar, and other forms of carbohydrate, is not often taken in moderation, but more commonly to excess.

As a poison sugar may not have the immediacy of dabea poisoning I grant you, but it is a contributing factor to slow death through non-communicable disease nevertheless.

I wonder how many sufferers of Type II diabetes wish they had never become addicted to this dangerously beguiling taste treat?

An addiction often begun by parents early in their child's life when they unnecessarily introduce their babies to sweet food by adding sugar to baby milk or to food 'to make it taste better'.

How many of those babies will become ill later in life because their parents "taught" them to crave sugar, a craving exceedingly hard to break?

I was lucky in that, about 70 years ago, my parents taught us to enjoy our food and drink without added sugar. They were ahead of their time.

Whether the craving is for poisonous fish or for a dangerous sweet treat it's the craving that speaks louder than the voice of reason.

Better not to acquire the craving in the first place don't you think?

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