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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Causes Of Food Poisoning In Nigeria | Common Diseases Transmitted Via Eating Of Raw Fruits & Vegetables

food poisoning in nigeria
Food Poisoning

Causes Of Food Poisoning In Nigeria: Prevention Of Food Poisoning In Nigeria

As you read further on this post, you will discover the major causes of food poisoning in Nigeria. Food poisoning do occur as a result of ingesting contaminated foods; on this post, we are focusing our attention on major types of contamination that occur as a result of eating fresh fruits and vegetables in Nigeria.

When considering fresh ready to eat foods like fruits and vegetables, what should always come to mind is the hygiene of this food items to prevent food contamination or food borne illness.

It is often recommended that we should always go for freshness when it comes to fruits and vegetables; many Nigerians love eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables are indeed loaded with priceless amount of amazing benefits; they are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that help prevent infections and diseases.

However, despite how nutritional fresh fruits and vegetables are; there are serious health concerns as regards how hygienic this fruits / vegetables are before or while they are consumed. Unhygienic practice that is a general phenomenon in Nigeria is one of the leading causes of food poisoning in Nigeria.

Walking down any street any busy day, you will see fruits & vegetables vendors displaying their produce either on a wheelbarrow, hawking, & some displayed on the floor.

Most of the fresh fruits that are widely consumed in Nigeria didn’t follow the hygienic procedure before being offered to the public and it is even worrisome that most consumers always make the same mistake before eating.

Think about it, do you always wash apples, dates, carrots etc every time before you eat, if you do, not everyone does, this eating habit is what makes people vulnerable to food contamination, food poisoning or food borne illness.

It is essential for you to know that fresh fruits / vegetables have been known to be one of the easiest means of transferring microorganisms that may cause infections due to food contamination.

They are the vehicle through which humans get infected. When this fruits / vegetables are handled by an infected person, it becomes contaminated and you know what happens afterwards.

Lit Of Common Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Eaten Raw In Nigeria

  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Dates {Dabino}
  • Sugar cane
  • Cashew
  • Tiger nut
  • Garden eggs
  • Mangoes
  • Tomato
  • Cabbage
  • Celery

Causes Of Food Poisoning In Nigeria: Safety Measures For Eating Raw Fruits & Vegetables

  • Always wash fresh fruits / vegetables with clean water before eating
  • Ensure your hands are always clean before handling ready to eat fruits / vegetables
  • Always avoid fruits / vegetables with traces of spoilage or cut on the skin
  • Always buy your fruits / vegetables from hygienic fruits & vegetable vendors
  • Avoid fruits / vegetables contact with raw fish, meat or poultry

Causes Of Food Poisoning In Nigeria: How Does Fruits & Vegetables Get Contaminated

Food Contamination {especially when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables} often occur as a result of infection by harmful microorganisms which can be a virus, bacteria or other microbes capable of causing diseases. These microbes are called pathogens; they are an infection agent that causes diseases or illness. These pathogens can be found on the skin, leaves or inside a contaminated fruit or vegetables.

Causes Of Food Poisoning In Nigeria: Top Four Food Borne Pathogens Found On Fruits & Vegetables

Hepatitis A Virus

Hepatitis A virus is the primary cause of Hepatitis A; an infectious diseases that attacks the liver. This virus is spread by contact with an infected person, fluid or food with fruits and vegetables inclusive.

This disease is characterized by yellowness of the skin & eye {jaundice}, extreme fatigue, high fever, & abdominal pain to mention a few. To prevent this disease, there is need for hygienic practice to prevent infestation.

This virus can easily be spread from person to person and can be prevented to a large extent by simple washing of hands.


Salmonella is bacteria that can infect the body and easily get into the bloodstream and other parts of the body. Salmonella is one of the leading causes of food contamination or poisoning, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disorder.

The bacteria usually affects the small intestine and can easily be spread by consuming contaminated raw foods, undercooked food and having contact with infected persons or animal.

Likely symptoms of salmonella infections are abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting & bloody stool. People infected with salmonella may get hospitalized and may develop pain in their joint known as arthritis. Salmonella infection can be treated with antibiotics.


This is a pathogen often spread via fecal-oral route. Food touched by an infected person immediately becomes contaminated and can easily spread the infection.

It is characterized by loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, stomach pain & cramps, vomiting, diarrhea {watery}, increased gas, and fatigue.

Symptoms may start after few days of infestation; people infected can however, recover on their own with drinking enough water to get hydrated and combination of antibiotics.


Norovirus is the major cause of gastroenteritis which is also known as stomach flu symptoms. It can easily be spread from person to person when there is contact and consumption of contaminated fruit or vegetable.

The primary mode of transmission is fecal-oral route and can cause inflammation of the stomach or intestine leading to stomach pain, nausea & diarrhea.

Causes Of Food Poisoning In Nigeria: Other Notable mentions

  • Escherichia coli 0157:H7
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Shigella spp.
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Campylobacter & Toxoplasma gondii

All these pathogens are the leading cause of food poisoning resulting into gastrointestinal illness. They can be prevented with hygienic practices and food safety precautions when handling ready to eat food items including fresh fruits and vegetables.

Bottom Line!!!

Fruits and vegetables play an important role in nutrition and cannot be substituted in any way. Safety measures should be taken when handling and consuming this ready to eat foods.

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