Nairobians are fond of having meat as part of their diet which is considered a must-have accompaniment, for those that have the purchasing power.
One of the most products on high demand is pork which is common in joints and butcheries within the Central Business District (CBD) and various urban centres.
According to a recent research published titled, “Nairobi Pork Value Chain: Mapping and Assessment of Governance, Challenges, and Food Safety Issues” Kenya’s current per capita consumption of pork is 0.4 kg, behind bovine meat at 12.2 kg, mutton/goat at 2.2 kg, and poultry at 0.6 kg.
Meat in a butchery
There is, however, a growing concern regarding the danger of consuming undercooked or raw pork. The product, albeit nutritious, can be dangerous to one’s health if they don’t take heed certain measures.
Consuming poorly cooked pork can lead to a number of health problems, ranging from mild to severe.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), meat lovers who eat undercooked pork get infected with pig tapeworm. This causes an infection caused by larval cysts of the pork’s tapeworm.
The infection causes a condition known as cysticercosis. This type of cysticercosis is called Neurocysticercosis. To put into perspective, this can lead to seizures as it affects the brain.
A study conducted by the African Journal of Rural Development in Kiambu county where samples were selected randomly corroborated these findings.
Out of 384 people, 26 were found to have tapeworms. The study revealed that severe cases of tapeworm could lead to dementia.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, the secretary general of Kenya Association Of Food Safety And Protection (KAFSAP), Dr. Juliana Kiio, affirmed that Kenyans should take care when eating pork meat.
“Definitely, when you ingest undercooked pork, you expose yourself to parasitic worms known as helminths. You are likely to contract a lot of worms including roundworms and flukes. When you go to the worm’s lifecycle you get to see how it manifests itself and how at times some of them dislodge into one’s brains and gets seizures,”
Alluding to farmers who use growth hormones in pigs, she noted that there are regulatory measures enforced by the public health docket to ensure the meat is safe for human consumption.
“On issues surrounding hormones, there are those that have been allowed by the health docket and are safe. For those hormones that have been vetted, one ends up experiencing health problems such as endocrine disorders and in severe cases cancer growth because of abnormal multiplication of cells,” she stated.
She added that awareness ought to be raised for consumers to take care of everything they eat.
While there is no cause for alarm, ensure that your pork delicacy is properly cooked to prevent the risk of contracting infections. Pork is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Some of these minerals include thiamine, zinc, iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6.
Piglets feeding inside a pig parlor.