A few years ago, my friend, Dolapo Adetunji, bought carrots and cucumbers from a fruit vendor at the main entrance of University of Ibadan. She washed the vegetables and ate one of the carrots, while waiting for the food she was preparing to be ready. Suddenly, she felt a sharp pain in her abdomen but assumed it was hunger pang. A few minutes later, her meal was ready. Halfway into consuming it, she became acutely sick. She soon lost consciousness and was quickly rushed to a health centre, where she was diagnosed with food poisoning.
Dolapo’s story is hardly unique. Although she recovered from the food poisoning, not everyone who had the same experience was so lucky. Many of us know someone who became sick after consuming poorly handled food. Root crops like carrots particularly require to be thoroughly washed. Sometimes contaminants from the soil can stick to the surface, even if the vegetable is lightly rinsed.