3 June 2009

Gambia: Concern Raised Over Tapalapa Preparation

The manner in which Tapalapa bread is prepared has for a long time been a subject of debate as concern has frequently been raised over the issue of hygiene.

Not only is the nature of the bread sometimes repelling, but the occasional discoveries of unpleasant substances make it shoddiest. Recently, a young man, Abdoulie Conteh, a resident of Bijilo, came across an unpleasant substance believed to be 'animal faeces' in the bread that he was eating with his family during breakfast. He said he had been supplied by one of the distributors who roam about in the localities.

In Conteh's account, it was just a matter of luck that he discovered "a big black rounded ball-like in the middle of the bread" which he believes to be the faeces of either a goat or dog. "This is very unfortunate and disheartening," he told this reporter, after walking into the Daily Observer offices with his complaint, the bread in hand.

The development left him panicked for fear of food poisoning. He blamed it on "carelessness and unhygienic measures at the local tapalapa bakeries." "This discovery has left me frustrated and made me lost interest in bread totally. I deployed efforts to locate the bakery, but it proved futile as I had bought the bread from an unknown distributor who supplies people with bread in the community," said a clearly disturbed Conteh.

As far as Conteh is concerned, this discovery of his reveals that some bakers are not really concerned about the health and wellbeing of the people. He stressed the need for the enforcement of laws on unhygienic practices. The authorities concerned, he maintained, should start conducting routine tour to bakeries and assess the hygienic situation there. "It will be also very important if the authorities could ensure that bakers are issued certificates before any attempt to make bread for the people," he appealed, while reiterating the need for swift action against such unhygienic practices.

When contacted, Momodou Nget, senior food standard officer at the Public Health unit, would not comment without seeing the bread.

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