Health effects of adulterated palm wine
Palm wine is a popular alcoholic beverage identified with various cultures in Africa. But when adulterated, as it is the common practice today, has been linked to severe health hazards including death.
Martins Ajibade, in the African Journal Of Food Science has also proven the hazards of fake palm wine production.
Showing that glucose is significantly high in freshly tapped palm wine but little or nothing in regularly sold palm wine.
It was observed that the alcohol, toxic levels of lead, cadmium and salicylate content is absent in freshly tapped undiluted palm wine but significantly higher in regularly sold diluted palm wine.
The only similarity was the present of saccharomyces cerevisiae to which fermentation from palm sap to palm wine is usually attributed.
However, the continued consumption of palm wine with salicylate content might lead to exposure to chronic salicylate poisoning.
The product may also be contaminated with artificial sweeteners, dirty containers or unfiltered water used to increase its quantity, leading to outbreaks of diarrheal diseases.
Palm wine can also be distilled into more alcoholic whisky-like drinks, which may contain methanol when not properly distilled, leading to blindness, circulatory collapse and even death.
Adulterated palm wine trade accompanied with its health implications is an emerging problem in the country. It is essential to create awareness among traditional rulers, public and private health authorities, and the general public about the menace of adulterated palm wine threatening the life of the society.
Hence, an unregulated palm wine industry represents a serious occupational hazard for the workers, significant public health concerns for the general population, and an enormous burden to the community and healthcare system. Its wide availability, relatively low cost, and high alcohol content place palm wine at the center of a growing issue of alcohol abuse.
It is worthy to note that, palm wine whether in its natural or adulterated form can cause a ripple effect due its alcoholic content, unguided drinking behavior and lack of effective monitoring of product quality.
Eze, a palm wine seller in Isolo, Lagos, said that palm wine is very good to health, most especially when it is not fermented. “It improves our visual sight with yeast, cures malaria and boost breast milk in breast feeding mothers. It also help to improve the efficiency of our mental faculty,” he said.
Eze stressed that palm wine trade is lucrative, as a bottle is N200 and many patronise him, knowing its function in the body.
He said: “Despite the fact that I hawk the palm wine around with my bicycle, people still patronize me because they know the quality of the palm wine I sell, I don’t add anything to my palm wine, I sell it in its natural form from God.”
He noted that there are two types of palm wine, the freshly tapped and diluted palm wines, as many are allegedly making money from adulterated palm wine, by mixing fermented cassava with saccharine and other sweet flavors and sell the dangerous substance to innocent people to consume, as a result causing untold damages to the body system, such as kidney/renal failure.
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