Diversification and Food Preparation

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Diversification and Food Preparation Manual Lima RDF, Oct 2011
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DiversificationandFood preparation
Contents
Diversification in Production ...............................................................................................................3
Growing a variety of crops ................................................................................................................3
Mixing annuals and perennials .........................................................................................................4
Incorporating multi-purpose plants ................................................................................................. 5
Fruit ....................................................................................................................................................6
Seed saving ........................................................................................................................................6
Food behaviour and choices.................................................................................................................7
Foods bought .....................................................................................................................................9
Foods locally planted and grown ......................................................................................................9
Foods from nature: Wild or veld foods ............................................................................................9
Processing and Storing Food ...........................................................................................................10
Food and water safety for healthy households ...................................................................................16
Food Spoilage...................................................................................................................................17
Infestation by macro-organisms: ................................................................................................. 17
Microbiological deterioration ......................................................................................................17
Bacteria: ........................................................................................................................................19
Moulds .........................................................................................................................................20
Yeasts.............................................................................................................................................21
Food safety and personal hygiene .......................................................................................................21
Food safety........................................................................................................................................21
Food safety and Infants and children .............................................................................................24
Water safety and health ..................................................................................................................25
Treating unsafe water ..................................................................................................................26
Food preparation and food practices ................................................................................................. 28
Use fresh vegetables ....................................................................................................................28
Eat a variety of vegetables and fruit - 5 a day.............................................................................28
Consider a own household garden .............................................................................................28
Buy in fresh food in season .........................................................................................................29
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Washing fruits and vegetables ....................................................................................................29
Do not use too much water in cooking ......................................................................................29
Use salt sparingly .........................................................................................................................29
Do not use too much oil / use fat sparingly ...............................................................................30
Do not use too much sugar ..........................................................................................................31
How people develop or change food behaviours ............................................................................31
Children develop food behaviour early in life .............................................................................31
Natural and physical environment.............................................................................................32
Socio-cultural and household influences ...................................................................................32
Individual factors and food behaviour ........................................................................................32
Promotion of traditional food. ........................................................................................................33
Modified traditional food recipes ...................................................................................................36
References ............................................................................................................................................42
APPENDIX 1: Groups of foods for promoting diet diversity, the most important nutrients they
contain and their role in the body (UNISA, 2010) .............................................................................43
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Diversification
Diversification in Production
At a home food garden level there are a number of
reasons for diversifying production. Increasing the
diversity of plants and plant types in a garden has an
over-arching advantage of increasing environmental
and production sustainability, while also increasing
the nutrition and dietary sustainability for garden
members. Ways in which diversity can be increased
include:
Growing a variety of food crops for continuity
(seasonal and nutritional e.g. traditional crops)
Mixing annuals and perennials (including mixed
cropping, crop rotation and propagation)
Incorporating multipurpose plants (for e .g.
windbreaks, fruit, wood, fodder, culinary herbs,
natural pest and disease control and medicine)
Increase in biomass for use in natural soil fertility
and mulching (green manures, fodder)
Fruit (including indigenous fruit trees)
Seed saving
Creation of micro-climates;
oGrey water harvesting and container planting
(bag gardens, tower gardens, keyhole gardens)
oRWH and small plastic lined ponds (planting
of comfrey, mint, amadumbe, reeds, fruit)
oNetting structures (micro) for propagation
(shade cloth for seed beds and making
cuttings)
Growing a variety of crops
Here there are a number of strategies possible at a
home or community garden level
1.Introducing new crops for summer and winter
planting.(e.g. spring onions, okra, leeks,
marrows, ibhece (wild melon), cauliflower,
ALV introduced to gardeners
(through ARC-VOPI partnership) as
an example of diversification
- Amaranthus (imbuya)
-Grain amaranth:
This is high in protein, vitamin B5
(pantothenic acid), iron, phosphorus,
zinc, copper, and magnesium.
- Cleome (spider plant, Umzonde)
-Nightshade (Umsobo )
- Ethiopian kale (intufeshe)
- Mustard spinach (masihlalisane)
- Corchorus (Igusha)
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broccoli, rape, , Chinese greens such as pak choi,....)
2.Increasing the variety of vegetables and crops grown
in different season (e.g. brinjals, broad beans, peas,
turnips,
3.Growing of African leafy Vegetables(ALVs) in stead
of just harvesting them (e.g. imbuya, umsobo,
masihlalisane, umzonde, intufeshe, igusha)
4.Increasing the range and number of legumes grown
(disease resistant sugar beans, cowpeas, jugo beans,
peanuts and cowpeas.)
5.Increasing the range and number of grains
produced.(Open pollinated varieties (OPV) of maize,
millet, sorghum, imfe, ...)
Mixing annuals and perennials
Perennial plants can be incorporated into the gardening
system to fulfil a number of functions.
Common plants to consider are those used in natural soil
fertility and natural pest and disease control processes
such as:
- Comfrey; for liquid
manure, protection
against mildew, high
blood pressure tea.
(Above right)
- Garlic chives; pest
control and culinary
- Stinging nettle
(Imbathi); for liquid
manure, protection
against blight and
bacterial spot
diseases, (Below
right)
Mixed cropping protects vegetables from pest explosions and also deters certain specific pests
when companions are planted together. Or crops can be mixed over a period of time when
Legumes and grains introduced to
gardeners for diversification
- Cowpea (imbumba)
- Jugo beans (indulbu)
- Peanuts (imankinathi)
- Sugar beans Gadra rust
resistant
-Millet (upokwe)
- OPV Maize for saving seed
methods for seed saving are
considered; such as ‘bagging’ as
wind pollination can cross plants
up to 5 km apart.
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single stands of crops are preferred. Crop rotation systems
usually include a cycle of 3-4 years and a legume, or winter
fodder/ground cover is thrown into the mix.
Incorporating multi-purpose plants
Here plants with as many different functions as possible are
considered so that their usefulness in the garden system
can be guaranteed.
For example certain species are good windbreaks and
hedges, provide firewood and fruit. Examples could include:
Carrissa spp (Amathungulu) and Kei-Apple (Umqokolo)
Others can be grown for shade, for nitrogen fixation, as
fodder, firewood and mulch. Examples here could include
Acacia ssp and Pigeon peas (uDhali)
Mixed cropping combines plants
that:
- Consume different amounts and
types of nutrients for balance
- Provide nutrients to the soil ;
e.g. legumes such as lucerne
or nutrient accumulators (e.g.
comfrey)
-Have different root depths ;
shallow and deep
-Have insect repellent properties-
e.g. garlic, onion, coriander,
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Fruit
In planting fruit trees to increase diversification, care needs to be taken to try to ensure a
continuous fruit supply throughout the year and to grow as many different kinds of fruit trees as
possible. Grafted fruit trees are preferred by many community members as they fruit within the
second year so there is no long waiting period. People also find access to these trees almost
impossible without assistance to buy in bulk from
wholesale nurseries. Trees at retail nurseries are
generally far too expensive to consider.
Trees can also be propagated from cuttings and can
be grafted.
Some fruit can be grown from seed. Easy examples
are granadillas and tree tomatoes.
Right: A hedge made from granadillas growing over the
fence.
Seed saving
Seed saving is central to sustainability and
independence of gardeners. Plants adapt to the
environment they are grown in and produce
seeds that carry those local adaptations,
producing healthier plants that are better able
to cope with the local environment. This is
important for local farming systems and
ensuring availability of preferred varieties. For
some of the traditional crops this is the only way
of providing continuity as seed is not available
commercially. Or if it is, the seeds are hybrid
varieties bred for commercial purposes and may
not carry the desired traits for farmers.
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Food Preparation
Food behaviour and choices
A number of factors affect what we eat and determine our food choices. People’s food choice and
eating behaviours are influenced by the geographical or physical environment in which they live.
From the day we are born we are connected to a particular family, community and society. This
social environment is characterized by our diverse relationships with others. These relationships
can be social, educational, political or economic. The social environment has a huge influence on
our values, beliefs and practices throughout our lives and the foods that we prefer to eat. There is
also the personal environment to consider. Each person has a unique personality that influences
his/her reactions to and participation in the
physical and social environments. Each person will
use his or her own ideas, experiences and beliefs to
make decisions that influence behaviours.
The food choices made by the people living in rural
areas highlight that food and nutritional health
security is dependent on the food found in these
environments. This determines:
availability of nutritious food
accessto nutritious food sources
food preparation, careand safe practices
which are part of how people utilize
food
planning and storagepractices to ensure
a stable food supply
When it comes to sustainable and sufficient,
nutritious food we need to become conscious of the
principles behind producing and managing food
from field to consumption. When we understand
the importance, we are able to put soil, biodiversity
and water management with food production where
it belongs at the centre of sustainable livelihoods.
Families in rural areas of KZN consume
mostly a cereal-based diet, with staple
foods being a stiff porridge made from
maize meal, bread, or rice. Legumes,
mostly beans, form an important part of
the diet. Foods of animal origin such as
meat as well as fruits and vegetables are
not frequently consumed. Very few
households have a refrigerator and the
lack of cold storage facilities makes
frequent consumption of perishable
foods such as
meat and dairy products difficult.
Unemployment in these areas is high,
and so the families do not frequently eat
foods of animal origin such as chicken,
pork, mutton etc because they cannot
afford to buy them.
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y Food Accessibility Food Utilization F
Figure 1: Factors that affect people’s food choices(from: UNISA; CAES, Food Security Facilitation, Module 4,
2010)
When advising people on healthy eating, we need to be aware of the food resources that are
available to the household. The food resources that are available to people can be categorized
(grouped) as:
foods bought
foods locally grown
food resources available in nature
food stored at the household level
food exchanges and gifts
Religious beliefs
Ideas about
food and health
Social interaction
Food beliefs
and taboos
Social factors
Personal
preferences
Smell
Texture
Resources
Gender
Wild or veld
food
Foods bought
Availability
Affordability
Foods grown
Environment
Knowledge
Foods stored
Processing methods
Storage facilities
Individual factors
Body’s needs
Stress
Mind’s needs
Life stage
Young child
Pre-natal/
Pregnancy
Adolescent
escentncy
Infant
Toddler
Adult
Elderly
Colour
Taste
Food and nutrition
knowledge
Attitude and
expectations
Care
Activity level
Genetic
Disease
Natural and
physical factors
Mutual group
coherence
Food choices Food choices
Food Availability Food Accessibility Food Utilization Food Stability
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Foods bought
The most significant factor that influences what people buy is the cost of the food and the amount
of money they have available to spend on food. As
the food prices increase, families can buy less food
with the money that they have. The number of
persons per household and the sources of income for
the household will determine how much “purchasing
power” the household has.
The food that families can buy also depends on which
foods are available in the shops or local markets
nearest to them. People who live in rural areas buy
from the local shops where the variety of foods
available is usually more limited than people who live
in urban areas. Supermarkets and markets in nearby
towns have a bigger variety of foods to choose from.
The packaging of foods (in terms of amount), and the
appearance and freshness of the food may also
influence what people choose to buy.
However, rural families are often restricted in going
to town frequently because of the poor public
transport system, or because of the cost of public
transport. The food people buy will also depend on
the amount of time and effort needed to reach the
shops and carry the food home.
Foods locally planted and grown
The availability of food produced at the household
level is influenced by environmental factors. These
factors include the climate (not all crops grow well in
all areas), the availability of water for irrigation, and
the characteristics of the soil (e.g. soil fertility). In
order to garden families need suitable tools and
access to high quality seeds at an affordable price.
Families will often grow crops that grow easily, need
low agricultural inputs and give good yields, without
considering the nutritional value of the crop.
Foods from nature: Wild or veld foods
One hundred years ago, the diet of people in your
local area was probably much better and more varied
People who live in rural areas have
traditionally used African leafy
vegetables called imifino in their
diets and many still do so today. As
people move to the cities they adopt
new lifestyles and eating behaviours.
This may account for a rather
negative view of traditional or
African leafy vegetables foods
among some people. Young people
often do not know about these foods
or associate them with poverty.
This means that when promoting
leafy vegetables as part of a healthy
diet, the focus should be on the
younger people as they generally
have less knowledge of the
advantages of eating wild-growing
leafy vegetables than the older
people (Masekoameng & Molotja,
2003).
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than it is today. However, this is not
because people had more money or
time. In the past, South African people
ate a healthy diet of meat, milk, wild
cereals and wild plants containing lots
of beneficial nutrients. They also
processed their own foods such as
cereals and vegetables.
Today, the dietary patterns of people are
changing or in transition. People often
or only buy staple foods that have been
mechanically processed such as ‘white’
rice, ‘white’ bread and 'white maize' for
porridge. Processing removes the dark
outer layer of grain, which contains a lot
of vitamins and protein. This means that
a lot of the processed foods people eat
nowadays are often lacking in sufficient
quantities of nutrients needed for
growth and maintenance.
In every region and country there are
distinctive traditional processed foods
that are well suited to the local climatic
and socio-economic conditions. Kept
alive by pockets of people, these systems
in their original form can still be found
in areas generally isolated from modern
infrastructure. A positive spin off for
the Food Sector are high value market
niches for ‘indigenous’ foods and food
products combined with sustainable
production technologies and marketing
systems
Processing and Storing Food
Food processing also uses science
together with creative imagination of
the processor to change the eating
A number of niche marketing ideas are worth
following up: KZNDAE&RD value adding section have
been working with homes processing of orange
fleshed sweet potatoes nad have produced some
very interesting processed products
Above: High value
niche market for sweet potato chips (from
KZNDAE&RD, 2011)
A project in Kenya is producing imifino for
supermarkets, where these are either dried and
bottled or chopped and packed into bags.
Above left; dried and fresh imifino and Right:
Packing chopped and mixed leafy vegetables as
Tusker Supermarket in Nairobi (including
Amaranthus, jute mallow, nightshade nad pumpkin
leaves(from PIGRI, Back by popular demand: the
benefit of traditional vegetables)
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quality of foods and provide people with interesting variety in their diets (as seen by the variety
on the supermarket shelves).
Peoples’ experiences in development projects around the world have shown that increasing the
awareness of the value of processing foods is an important method for improving the livelihoods
of both rural and urban populations. This is because food processing can contribute to food
security through:
Improved storage of fresh produce minimising losses;
Preserving seasonal excess which would otherwise be wasted.
Improved nutritional status through consumption of preserved or stored fruits and
vegetables throughout the year (as apposed to consumption only in season);
Increased income for the sale of processed fruits and vegetables (value adding).
Many normal diets throughout the world rely on a cereal (such as wheat, sorghum, maize, barley,
rice, oats) or root crop (such as potato,
amadumbe, cassava) as their staple food. These
are generally simple to store for long periods and
provide an economical source of energy in the
form of carbohydrates.
Right Top: A traditional under ground store for
cereals and root crops
Right Bottom: Hanging maize cobs above fires for
storage.
To supply our bodies with protein: meat, milk,
fish, and legumes (e.g. beans, lentils, and dhal)
are consumed with these staple energy foods.
Fat from seeds and nuts are a source of fatty
acids essential for our bodies. They also provide
concentrated energy along with the fats found in
many protein foods. Vitamins and minerals are
provided by leafy vegetables, fruits, seeds and
nuts which in traditional meal patterns are often
made into strong tasting relishes to accompany
the relatively bland staple foods. But because most crops are seasonal, there are times of the year
when either there is too much to eat or none at all if adequate measures are not taken to preserve
and store the foods.
There are three basic principles that have been followed by mankind for centuries for dealing with
micro-organisms.
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Keep out:Restrict the access of micro-organisms and pests to food in the first place to minimize
contamination. We do this through appropriate packaging materials and storage containers.
Kill them:inactivate or destroy micro-organisms that have made it passed the ‘keep out’ process
and gained access to the food. The most appropriate of these technologies at household level is
applying high temperatures (heat) beyond which the micro-organisms can survive. Enzymes are
proteins and heat denatures proteins. In other words it makes them unable to act on food. The
micro-organisms die because the heat destroys the enzymes which control their metabolic
processes and they are not then able to grow or replicate.
Keep them from growing: slowing down or inhibiting the growth of the microbes in the event
that they have not been kept out or killed. This is achieved usually by drying, use of vinegar, salt
and sugar.
Most foods need some sort of preparation and processing to make them more attractive to eat. If
you think of grains, vegetables, meats and fish, you tend to think of them in cooked forms. Some
foods e.g. cassava and amadumbe are dangerous until they are cooked. Even foods that we are
happy to eat raw like nuts, milk and fruits can benefit from processing into a wide variety of other
products which add variety and nutrient value to our food intake.
All foods are biological materials that begin to decay as soon as they are harvested or slaughtered.
Processing slows down or stops this deterioration and thus allows foods to be preserved for
extended periods
Action of Enzymes in food
In active living tissue, complex enzyme-catalysed biochemical reactions take place, which are
carefully controlled by the cell. These enzymes are naturally occurring and normally aid in the
ripening of fruit and vegetables. However, in raw, unpreserved food (the cells are not living
anymore), the cellular structure breaks down and these enzyme reactions become uncontrollable,
modifying the appearance, taste, texture and safety of foods. For example, in bruised fruit and
vegetables, the breakdown of the tissue by the enzymes leads to the formation of acetaldehyde
and ethanol, which taste unpleasant. Fruit and vegetables which, have been left too long, go soft
because of the breakdown of pectin. Humans generally do not find these overripe fruits edible.
Heating the food to denature the enzymes can control damage caused by enzyme activity.
Boiling, frying, pasteurization and canning are all heating methods that reduce enzyme activity.
Blanching of vegetables and fruits is used before carrying out other forms of processing such as
drying or freezing, which do not heat the food sufficiently to destroy the enzymes. Alternatively,
enzyme activity can be inhibited by changing the level of acidity, excluding air (removes oxygen),
or reducing the moisture available in some foods.
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Non-enzymatic reactions in foods
Food can also spoil from non-enzymatic reactions, such as oxidation (from the contact of cut or
broken surfaces with oxygen). Examples are the browning of apple slices or rancidity in unrefined
fats and oils.
The fats in plants and animal tissues (i.e. oils extracted from seeds, peanuts) break down when
exposed to oxygen in a process called oxidative rancidity. In English we say ‘the fats have become
rancid’. The most common experience that we have is when milk or butter is exposed to light and
air. Within a very short time, there is a difference in flavour these flavours are the result of the
oxidative rancidity. This is why luxury foods that contain cream like imported cheese, and butter
are wrapped in foil and or opaque (does not let the light through) containers to prevent exposure
of the contents to light and air. Knick knacks, potato chips and other fried or baked snacks are
also usually packaged in foil. Again, they have a high fat content which has already been exposed
to heat and is very susceptible to becoming rancid. The packaging is not permeable to air (air
cannot go through the foil and plastic layers) and the foil blocks the light from causing damage.
Some of the very same factors which cause deterioration in food can also be used to preserve and
add value to food. Many bacteria, yeasts and moulds are actually used in traditional food
processing processes and in the modern food industry to achieve desired flavours, textures and
even to help preserve foods. For example, the delightful flavours and characteristic textures of a
variety of cheeses result from the activity of various bacteria or moulds. Sauerkraut, pickles,
mass, yoghurt and sourdough or salt fermented breads are made by using bacterial fermentation.
The yeast in bread provides leavening and flavour to baked goods and is important in the
production of foods such as beer, vinegar and wine.
Table 1. Appropriate food processing technologies used in Africa and other parts of the world,
(Caister, K . 2010 )
Principle
Method
Technology used
Examples of use in food products
Inactivate
microorganisms
and enzymes
Heat
Cooking(boiling,
roasting, grilling)
Baking
Pasteurization
Heat sterilization
(bottling/canning)
Porridges, root crops, vegetables, meat and
legumes
Injera (sour bread leavened by
fermentation)
Milk, fruit juice
Canned or bottled fruits, vegetables,
legumes,
Slowing down or
inhibition of
microbial growth
Reduce
available
water
Drying foods,
concentrating
Dried fruits, vegetables & herbs, roots, nuts,
pulses, saps from plants, insects (mopani
worms)
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Lowering pH
Salting
Salting and curing
with smoke
Smoking
Addition of sugar
Fish (e.g.kapenta), meat (e.g. biltong),
pickles
meat (e.g. ham & bacon), fish,
various fruits (kwakwa), seeds (mealies for
planting)
konfyte, jams, syrups, bottling & canning,
drying fruits
Addition of acid
(vinegar, citric acid,
lemon juice)
Pickled meats, fruits, vegetables, herbs
Lactic acid
fermentation
Fermented fruits (Mango ‘atchar’),
Fermented porridges & beverages
(Mahewu)
Fermented milk products (maas, yoghurt)
Fermented legumes (dawadawa, soya sauce,
miso),
Fermented cassava (Gari)
Fermented fish (in Norway)
Production
of alcohol
and carbon
dioxide
Brewing
Sorghum or millet beer, fruit wines
Chemical
preservatives
Natural chemicals
Artificial chemicals
Spices (chillies, ginger, garlic mustard,
cloves), wild leaves & herbs known to local
peoples
Sulphiting (soaking fruits in sulpher
solution before drying)
Sodium benzoate (in juices, cordials and
squashes)
Restrict access
of
microorganisms
Decontamin
ation
Fumigation of raw
materials with
ethylene oxide
Cereal grains stored in containers
There are two broad categories of food preparation and processing and these can take place at
almost any scale from a single person to many employees in a large processing plant. When foods
are intended for household consumption, or small-scale processing they are usually processed by
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individual families or small groups of people working together. These applications may happen
seasonally or be based on the availability of labour, and or demand for the product.
Primary Processing: This refers to the stabilization of food after harvesting. The objective is to
extend the shelf life of a raw or untreated commodity using appropriate post-harvest handling
and storage practices. This includes processes that slow or prevent spoilage and make the foods
more convenient to store and transport while allowing them to be marketed in a fresh or fresh-
like state or form. Examples include slaughtering and portioning, cleaning, classifying or grading,
de-hulling, pounding, grinding, soaking, winnowing, sieving, drying, chilling, milling, extracting
oils from seeds, and simple packaging.
Secondary Processing: many foods can be preserved to increase their stability or converted into
other forms which essentially produce a new food or food product. When we use processes to
increase the stability of a food we call this preservation. When we convert the food into another
form or more complex combination of foods, we call this processing
In both processes, we are trying to extend the shelf life or alter the eating quality of the foods.
To prevent food spoilage from happening at all, numerous ways to preserve foods at household
level or for a small scale food industry have been developed over time. These include processes
that slow down spoilage, such as heating, drying, curing, salting, adding sugar, adding spices,
adding chemical preservatives, making things more acidic, fermentation, smoking, refrigeration
and freezing.
Below is an indication of the stability of various vitamins in processed foods.
A
D
E
K
C
B complex
and
patothenic
acid
Destroyed by
ultraviolet
and air
Increase in
ultraviolet
Destroyed by
rancid fat
Very stable
Destroyed by
air, enzymes,
ultraviolet,
iron and
copper
-
Unstable to
heat
More heat
stable
Stable to heat, not normally affected by heat processing
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Leached out, destroyed by alkalis,
but are stable in acid
Figure 2: Stability of vitamins in processed food (Kaister, K.
2011).
Food and water safety for healthy households
Being healthy does not only involve eating adequate amounts of healthy nutritious foods but also
is dependent on our food and water safety practices.
Figure 3: Spoilage mechanisms for raw or uncooked food (From: UNISA; CAES. Food security Programme,
Module 4).
Protecting our food is only one of the ways that we can guarantee and support the health of a
family. If food and water is not clean and safe, any member of the family can for example become
ill with diarrhoea. Diarrhoea is even more serious among the vulnerable such as babies, children
and the elderly. If you are already malnourished the consequences of diarrhoea can be quite
severe. Micro-organisms, such as bacteria, that can contaminate or ‘infect’ water and food are too
small to see but are present in the air and water, and on the hands and body. If safety measures
are not in place, food that becomes contaminated will spoil and rot and not be safe for humans to
eat. In severe cases, this contamination can lead to food poisoning, an illness that is extremely
dangerous.
FOOD
RAW/UNCOOKED
Food handler
Dirty handsFlies and
pests
Environment
Soil. dust
Contaminated
water
Human/animal
waste
Domestic
animals
Dirty kitchen
utensils
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Food Spoilage
Infestation by macro-organisms:
Insects, parasites and rodents and
birds can cause major losses in
fresh produce. They infect the
foods in a myriad of ways both
before harvest, during and after
harvest, and even after processing
through careless packaging and
storage.
Traditional stores for grain can be
constructed in ways that can
maximize control of macro-organisms and pests. (from A pillars guide: Improving Food Security,
Tearfund,2001
Microbiological deterioration
Micro-organisms are living organisms that are too small to be clearly seen by the human eye. We
can only see them if we use a microscope. They are found everywhere: in the air, in soil, in water,
on the human body as well as in foods and the equipment that we use to prepare foods.
We come into contact with them through animals, insects, birds, packaging materials, equipment,
poor personal hygiene of food handlers, and cross-contamination from raw materials to cooked
and ready to eat foods.
Micro- organisms use the nutrients in the food for growth, which leads to the breakdown of the
foods. For example, fungi (such as Rhizopus) which grow on bread cause the starches to break
down, and they produce an unpalatable flavour.
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The bacteria which grow in meat, causing the meat to go “off” make the meat taste terrible, and
can make you sick.
Micro-organisms can contaminate food
by:
Cross-contamination between hands
or food or water
Insects and rodents that carry
harmful micro-organisms
Contact of food with dirty utensils,
such as plates, pots, spoons and
knives and forks
Unclean cooking facilities
Chemical contamination, when
pesticides or fertilizers are stored
with or near food
Food handlers who are themselves
infected by micro-organisms
Micro-organisms are able to survive and
multiply in food due to:
Inadequate cooking of food
Inadequate storage of leftovers for
an extended period
Not reheating leftover food at a high
enough temperature
Inadequate cooling after cooking
Long periods of keeping food warm
because it was prepared too far in
advance
The three most important micro-
organisms that can affect food safety
food are bacteria, moulds and yeasts.
Figure 3 shows examples of micro-
organisms that are harmful and cause
spoilage of food and those micro-
organisms that are harmless or useful.
Traditional storage systems for grains have a
number of advantages including thee strong
natural ventilation which enables the produce to
continue drying in storage. The development of
fungi is restricted by the continuous aeration.
Disadvantages however are that insects, rodents
and birds have unrestricted access to the stored
produce.
Making rat guards on the poles of these
structures helps for rodents
Closed storage systems keep macro pests out and
also provide cool dry microclimate and can allow
air tight conditions for suffocation of pests.
Underground storage is an example here, as are
traditional pots and mud structures.
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Figure 4: The three major groups of micro-organisms that are in food (From: UNISA; CAES. Food security
Programme, Module 4).
Bacteria:
Harmful and harmless bacteria are found everywhere, on hands, animals and plants, and in water
and soil. In order to grow, micro-organisms mainly need a supply of suitable food, such as
carbohydrates, sugars and starch, and fairly warm temperatures and moist conditions. Under
ideal conditions, bacteria grow extremely rapidly and produce millions of bacteria within hours.
Bacterial growth can be controlled or prevented if food is stored in a dry, cool place and if food is
consumed soon after cooking. Some of the safe food handling practices that ensure the
production of safe food are:
heating: cooking, boiling, steaming or frying food at high temperature
removing water, for example when food is dried: fruit, fish, meat
preservation of foods by adding sugar or acids like vinegar
fermenting the food to produce acids, for example: fermented sour milk
These methods of extending shelf-life are of particular importance in rural areas where cooling
and freezing facilities are not available or just too expensive. All of the above methods are simple,
inexpensive and efficient
MICRO-ORGANISMS
Moulds BacteriaYeasts
Harmful or spoilage
bacteria Harmless or useful
bacteria
Harmful:
Toxins
Aspergillus flavus
Salmonella
E coli.Lactobacillus:
Sour milk
Useful:
Sorghum beer,
Sour bread
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Severe food poisoning can develop when
large amounts of food are kept or stored at
a warm temperature for a long period of
time before eating. Some examples would
be food served at weddings and funerals
where food is cooked early in the day but
only eaten much later. Food poisoning can
be prevented by cooking food at high
temperature and eating it as soon as
possible, or if a refrigerator is available,
storing the food at a very low temperature.
Harmless or useful bacteria
One type of useful bacteria is the
Lactobacillus (lactic acid bacteria) which
produces sour milk, sour porridge, yoghurt
and cheese by fermentation. These lactic
acid bacteria produce acids that prevent the
growth of harmful bacteria and instead
produce a healthy food product that has a
longer shelf-life.
Moulds
Mould is a fluffy, slimy micro-organism that
grows on warm, moist surfaces. Moulds
grow and can be seen on bread, grains,
legumes or fruit and even on jam if the
conditions for growth are right. Moulds
require a high moisture content and high
temperature in order to survive.
Cereals and legumes can become
contaminated with a toxic or poisonous
fungus called Aspergillus flavus that
produces a toxic substance called aflatoxin.
This mould can grow on maize and the
husks of beans and ground nuts before they
are harvested and also when they are stored
in moist and warm conditions. These toxin-
contaminated grains and legumes are
highly dangerous and should not be
2 Common pathogenic bacteria:
Salmonellaare pathogenic or disease causing
bacteria, that when eaten, pass through the
stomach, into the intestine and are
transported to the liver and spleen, where
they can cause dangerous and even fatal
diseases in humans and animals. Populations
that are at higher risk are the immune-
compromised, vulnerable groups such children,
pregnant women, the elderly and HIV/AIDS
patients.
Hours after infection, severe symptoms such
as fever, abdominal cramps, and even bloody
diarrhea can develop. If not treated
immediately, this infection can result in death.
Most infections with Salmonella have been
reported to be from contaminated dairy,
poultry and meat products, with chickens and
raw eggs being particularly high risk foods.
However, if care is not taken when fruit and
vegetables are stored or prepared they too
can be contaminated.
E. coli is the abbreviated name forEscherichia
coli a bacterium which makes up approximately
0.1% of the total bacteria in an adult's
intestines. E coli can be transmitted if food,
hands and water comes into contact with raw
meat or unpasteurized milk or even infected
fruit and vegetables. This bacteriumcan
cause severe damage to intestinal cells,
resulting in massive loss of body fluids and
salts, and in blood vessels being damaged
resulting in dangerous internal bleeding.
Infection with E coli is particularly dangerous
to vulnerable groups such as children and the
elderly.
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consumed by humans or animals. If consumed over many years, this poisonous toxin can cause
liver cancer. This micro-organism not only affects health but also has an economic effect as it
spoils produce that could have been sold or stored to later use.
Yeasts
Yeast is generally a harmless micro-organism
that has been used for thousands of years in
the alcohol brewing and bread baking
industries. Yeast is able to ferment sugars and
produce maize or sorghum beer and wine if
left for 1 or 2 days. This brewing process will
inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.
Right: Making traditional sorghum beer
(umqombothi)(from IK Today, HSRC)
Food safety and personal hygiene
We all carry bacteria on our skin, nose and mouth and in our intestines, but only some of these
bacteria can be harmful. Because harmful bacteria are found not only inside the body, but also
outside on the surface of the skin, infection can be spread from the food handler when they come
in contact with food.
The harmful bacteria that can cause diarrhoea or food poisoning are also spread when hands are
not washed before and after food preparation. Food can become contaminated by bacteria from
human faeces and urine if hands are not washed after using the toilet, changing a baby’s nappies
or handling an animal. Harmful bacteria from the nose and mouth can also be spread if an
infected person sneezes or coughs when handling food. If a person is ill, even more caution must
be taken to prevent bacteria being spread through coughing and sneezing. If there are cuts or
scratches on the skin, these must be covered to prevent contaminating the food. Whenever
possible, clean clothes should be worn when cooking.
Food safety
There a number of factors that need to be considered with regards to activities associated with
food safety:
Food buying - if there are no cooling facilities, fresh food such as milk and meat should be
bought every day or two to prevent spoiling. In the rural and in some informal urban settlements,
with no refrigerators for cooling, fresh food should be bought in small quantities that will be just
Diversification and Food Preparation Manual Lima RDF, Oct 2011
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enough to serve the household for one day. Vegetables and fruit will of course stay fresh for a
week or more without cooling.
Food preparation - all aspects of food preparation must be well controlled to ensure safe foods.
This includes purchasing, storing, handling and preparation. We can call this the Food
Preparation Safety Chain, which includes all aspects of safely handling food in a clean kitchen,
with clean cooking and eating equipment, with safe cooking at a high temperature and safe
storing at a low temperature. If there is only one break in the chain, this can result in food
spoilage and harmful bacterial growth.
In the developed world, food and water
contamination is minimal because the people usually
have access to clean running water, refrigerator and
freezer facilities. In contrast, clean water and food
hygiene is far more difficult to achieve when there are
no fridges, water is collected from distant and often
contaminated water sources, and where food is
prepared over an open wood fire.
This is particularly true in rural and in informal urban
settlement areas in developing countries. However
there are precautions that can be taken to overcome these challenges:
A clean kitchen or food preparation area is essential
Clean water,
Hands must be washed before touching food
Work surfaces, kitchen cloths and kitchen utensils such as knives, spoons and chopping
boards must be washed before and after food preparation.
Do not put cooked food in contact with raw food.
Utensils used for working with raw food must not come in contact with other
Fruit and vegetables can be washed before eating and cooking
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Figure 5: The food preparation safety chain (from UNISA, 2010)
Food storage- We now know that if food is kept for a long period in moist and warm
temperatures, the food will spoil and harmful bacteria or moulds will start growing. This means
that:
Harvested and prepared food should be stored in dry and cool to cold temperatures.
in cold weather, food such as milk and meat can be kept outside a refrigerator for only a day
or more
In warm and hot weather, food should be cooledimmediately after cooking and placed in a
refrigerator or a cool place.
If a fridge is not available, food should be cooked in small portions, just enough for the family
to eat at one meal or not more than 24 hours.
Food should not be stored for excessively long periods of time even if you have a fridge or
freezer.
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It should be noted that food that is dried
contains far less water and therefore dried
foods can be stored for long periods of time.
With hardly any water, these foods are
protected from the growth of moulds and
bacteria. The foods that are primarily dried
are maize, legumes and fish or meat. The
drying process in rural areas is usually in
the sun. Dried products must then be stored
in clean and sealed containers.
Serving of food - food should be served
and eaten as soon as possible after
preparation. Leftover foods should be stored
at a cool temperature and eaten the same
day if a refrigerator is not available. If
stored in a refrigerator, leftover foods are
usually safe for up to no more than 2-3 days.
Food safety and Infants and children
Infants and young children do not have a
well developed immune system. They are
therefore very vulnerable to any
contamination that may be transmitted
through poor personal hygiene or food
practices by the mother.
Strategies focusing on dietary
diversification to address vitamin A
deficiency aim to increase
the availability of, access to and
subsequently, the consumption of vitamin A-
rich foods.
Foods of animal origin are the best sources
of vitamin A, but they are expensive and
often out of the financial reach of poor
households. Foods of plant origin are more
affordable and many households have to
rely on orange-fleshed fruit (e.g. ripe paw-
paw and mango) and vegetables (e.g. carrot,
butternut, pumpkin, orange-fleshed sweet
potato), as well as dark green
leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach), as their main
source of vitamin A
One of the best sources of beta carotene is
orange fleshed sweet potatoes and regular
consumption for families growing this crop
has been shown to decrease Vitamin A
deficiency in the community by around 30%(
Faber et al, 2010)
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Weaning foods that are provided with breast milk and food to small children should be served as
soon as possible after cooking. It is also preferable that these foods are not stored for longer than
a day, especially if no cooling facilities are available. If foods are stored for a day, the food must be
re-heated thoroughly before feeding. If the baby is fed with baby or formula milk, extra care
should be given to washing bottles and teats. If a spoon or cup is used for preparation and for
feeding the infant, these utensils must be washed immediately after use. Bottles and teats should
be washed and boiled before re-using.
If unsafe water is used without boiling or bleaching in any of the above processes, the potential
for bacterial growth is further increased and can result in diarrhoea, vomiting and fluid loss, all
being dangerous symptoms in a young vulnerable child.
Water safety and health
In most of the worlds’ developing countries, and specifically in rural and informal settlement
areas, the availability of safe and clean water is a serious problem. Often the only sources are
rivers and streams that are not protected from animal and human contact. Cholera is an example
of a water-borne disease that affects many people.
Figure 6: The cycle of waterborne diseases and healthy food practices (from UNISA, 2010)
Cholera is a very serious and dangerous disease and, if not treated, can lead to death. The
bacteria that causes cholera is transmitted by water that is unprotected from human and animal
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waste/faeces. Cholera can also be spread by contaminated foods such as thin porridge, rice,
seafood and vegetables.
Treating unsafe water
Fetching water and collecting wood add
an enormous burden of time and
physical energy to the already full
workload of rural women. Water sources
include rivers ,streams springs, dams and
boreholes. The water from these sources
is usually unsafe and must be treated by
either bleaching or boiling before
drinking. However, research in KwaZulu-
Natal showed that only 10% of the
women actually boiled river water,
despite them knowing that this water
was not safe to drink.
There are two quick and easy methods of treating river or any other unsafe water.
Boiling: Unsafe water can be boiled for as little as one to two minutes, cooled and then stored in
a clean, covered container. All harmful bacteria would be killed in this very short time. This quick
boiling would also save on fuel such as wood and electricity
Bleaching: Contaminated water can also be treated by bleaching, by adding about ten drops of
household bleach to one liter of water. The water is then stirred and left to stand for 30 minutes.
It is most important to remember that when unsafe water has been boiled or bleached, the clean,
safe water must be kept safe and free from further contamination.
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Grey water and food garden irrigation
Grey or waste water from the house can be
recycled for use in the vegetable garden.
This grey water is particularly important
in rural areas of South Africa, since it is
often the only source of water available for
the garden other than drinking water.
Even when water is provided in peri-urban
and urban areas, re-use of household grey
water can be of enormous value when
growing vegetables. This practice ensures
that there is more clean water available for
personal hygiene.
Research at the Agriculture Research
Centre in Stellenbosch tested the growth
of plants using only grey water and
surprisingly found that the vegetables
grew better and the harvest was increased.
The most effective method of watering is
by drip irrigation which directs the water
to the roots of the vegetables and not the
leaves, thus conserving water.
Clean environment: disposal of food and
human waste products.
All food that is spoiled or rotten should be
disposed of in a safe manner. Spoiled food
should be removed from the kitchen as
soon as possible so that it does not attract
flies. Waste material from food
preparation such as vegetable peelings and
spoiled or rotten foods are of course ideal
to add to a compost heap, where micro-
organisms will break down the rotten
plant material and so provide important
nutrients that can go back into the soil to
improve soil quality. Compost provides an inexpensive fertilizer for the food garden. Do not use
2 Kinds of Grey water Harvesting Beds.
These are built up either with stones or
shade cloth (or feedbags). They both feature
a central column of stones that filters the
greywater and automatically irrigates the
hwoel bed or column. They also both have a
large amount of ash in the soil mixture. This
binds any extra soap and helps to keep the
beds active, fertile and clean.
Keyhole gardens: Are built up with stones
and have a central basket with rocks and
organic matter.
Tower gardens are built up from shade cloth
or 50kg feedbags and have a central stone
column for filtration
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human or domestic animal waste on the compost
heap. Human waste and that from non-water
toilets must be disposed of by burying in the veld.
Food preparation and food practices
The way in which food is stored, prepared and
cooked is important as it affects the nutrients that are in the food (see Appendix 1 ) It also affects
the taste of the food. Loss of nutrients from food can be prevented by, for example, using fresh
vegetables, using little water for boiling and keeping the cooking time short. Preparing foods
properly will make them tasty. To prevent overweight and chronic diseases, salt, oil and sugar
should be used sparingly when preparing food.
Use fresh vegetables
Fruits and vegetable are good sources of micronutrients that protect our bodies against infections.
If we have a choice and it is possible buy fruit and vegetables that are wrinkled, soft, mushy,
bruised, moulded, or damaged by worms or insects. Wilted vegetables have lost some of their
nourishment. If the vegetables are wilted, the household should not throw them away, but should
use them in soups and stews. Buying fresh vegetables is cheaper than buying frozen vegetables
Eat a variety of vegetables and fruit - 5 a day
For good health we should eat five portions of fruit and / or vegetables every day. This is however
not the case in South Africa where most people have a low fruit and vegetable consumption.
Reasons for not eating enough fruit and vegetables are affordability (lack of household income),
availability (and also seasonality) and taste preferences (particularly children and men who often
do not like eating vegetables).
Consider a own household garden
Many people do not eat fruit and vegetables frequently because of a lack of household income
which means they cannot afford to buy these foods. This does however not mean that poor
households should not eat fruit and vegetables. Households can improve the availability of and
access to fruit and vegetables by planting these foods in their own home-gardens. One of the
benefits of planting vegetables in home gardens is that the family can harvest from the home-
garden as the need arises and as a result the vegetables will always be fresh.
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Buy in fresh food in season
If we buy fruit and vegetables, we should buy those fruit and vegetables that are currently in
season, as these will be cheaper than those that are not currently in season. It is important to
wash vegetables well after harvesting and before use to remove pesticides that may have been
used.
Washing fruits and vegetables
To ensure that the vegetables that we use are fresh, we should pick or buy the vegetables and fruit
on the day we wish to use them and store them in a cool place. The vegetables should be washed
and cleaned before peeling and cutting (or chopped). Do this just before cooking - do not soak in
water before cooking (not long before the time). The same rule applies when we eat fruit; we
should clean and cut fresh fruit immediately before consumption. We should therefore not cut
vegetables and fruit and leave them to stand exposed to air.
Do not use too much water in cooking
Vegetables should be cleaned well before cutting or
chopping. We should however not soak vegetables in
water for a long time as some of the nutrients will
dissolve in the water and will therefore be lost. If we
use water when we cook food, we should use only a
small amount. Let the water boil before adding the
vegetables. Only cook the vegetables until they are
just tender. If there is some water left in the pot after
cooking, do not throw it away. Rather use it to make
gravy or soup. Sometimes people add baking soda to
the water in which they cook dark green leafy
vegetables. This should not be done as the baking soda destroys the vitamin C that is in the
leaves.
Use salt sparingly
Salt is commonly used to add flavour to foods. Eating
too much salt can result in high blood pressure, which
damages the blood vessels and increases the risk for
heart disease and stroke. In severe cases high blood
pressure can result in death. To avoid high blood
pressure, we should use salt sparingly. This means we should add only a little or preferably no salt
Add a little fat with orange and dark
green vegetables or eat with meat
for better absorption of Vitamin A
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to foods during cooking and at the table. We should always taste the food before we add extra
salt. Table salt is not the only source of dietary salt.
There are certain foods, particularly processed foods that are high in salt. These foods should be
eaten in small amounts and not often. Examples of foods that contain a lot of salt are sausages,
polony, salami, ham, bacon, take-away chicken portions, Bovril, Marmite, potato chips, salted
peanuts and savoury biscuits. Stock cubes, seasoning, soup and gravy powder also contain lots of
salt. Ready-made instant and canned foods usually contain a lot of salt.
Do not use too much oil / use fat sparingly
Fat is a very concentrated form of energy, meaning a small amount of
fat will provide a lot of energy. There are two types of fat in the diet,
namely those that are visible (we can see them with the naked eye), and
those that we cannot see (invisible fat or “hidden” fat). Fats that we can
see include oils, butter, margarine, Holsum (lard) and fat on the meat.
Foods that contain a lot of invisible fat include full cream milk and
products made with full cream milk such as cheese, yoghurt and ice-
cream. Processed meats and other fast foods (e.g. sausages,
polony, viennas, precooked dishes and meals), fried foods (e.g.
potato “slap” chips, vetkoek, bunny chows),
baked products (e.g. cakes and pies), “rich”
sweets such as chocolates and toffees, and
mayonnaise also have a high fat content.
If we eat too much fat we can gain weight and become overweight,
which is associated heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
We should therefore use fat sparingly by, for example, spreading
margarine thinly on bread, choosing low-fat or lean meats,
removing visible fat from meat before preparation, and preparing
and cooking foods without added fats and oils. People who are
already overweight should use low-fat milk and milk products.
Fatty foods (that have hidden fats) should be eaten in moderation, preferably during special
occasions only. Fats are needed by our bodies to absorb, for example, vitamin A and should be
used sparingly and avoid foods that contain too much fat.
However, we should also remember that fats are a good source of energy for undernourished and
sick people. If people (particularly children) are underweight (too thin) adding some fat
moderately to their meal will help them to gain weight.
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Do not use too much sugar
We should not use a lot of sugar during food preparation, as too much sugar is bad for us. Sugar
should not be added to vegetables, but rather the food should be flavoured with herbs from your
home-garden. Sugar containing foods and drinks are fine occasionally but should not form part of
daily meals.
How people develop or change food behaviours
As we grow our needs and food choices change. The environment plays a huge role in the kind of
food that people eat and how they prepare and use food. No matter in which part of the world
people live, they develop food behaviours that are closely linked to the geographical place in
which they live, socio-cultural habits patterns, their socio-economic status and what they learn
from their parents and cultural communities.
Children develop food behaviour early in life
A child’s eating patterns and food preferences are established early in life. During the first few
months of life, babies usually receive milk feeds only. During the weaning period, when foods
other than milk feeds are introduced, babies tend to reject a
new food given for the first time. However, if the child is given
this food repeatedly, the child’s preference for the food will
increase and he/she will accept or reject the food based mostly
on the taste of the food.
Right Top: Pre-School children eating white bread and processed
cheese for lunch (from UNISA, 2010)
Right bottom: Children eating phuthu and beans for lunch as
part of their school feeding programme menu.
Babies are born with a natural preference for a sweet taste,
and a dislike for sour and bitter tastes. Their natural food
preferences can however by modified or changed. When a
person develops a liking for the taste of a food through a
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learning process this is referred to as an acquired taste. Children (and even adults) can learn to
like a specific food through frequent exposure (i.e. tasting and eating the food frequently) and
social influences.
Natural and physical environment
Changes in food behaviour or eating habits frequently occur when people move to the cities. We
have already referred to diets in transition. When these city dwellers lived in the rural areas, they
usually ate unrefined foods (high in fibre), few animal foods and little fats. When they move to
the cities, they slowly change their food behaviour and start to eat more refined foods, more
animal foods and less plant foods, and more fatty foods. This change in food behaviour can
contribute to higher levels of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
Socio-cultural and household influences
As the child grows older and starts eating the same food as the rest of the family, children learn to
prefer food eaten by their parents. Food preferences and the way in which the food is prepared
and served by the family are influenced by cultural traditions, beliefs and values. Food behaviour
are often passed on from generation to generation.
The setting in which food is consumed and the presence of others during the meal play a role in
the development of food behaviour. For the young child, the interaction between the mother and
the child during feeding is important. However, as the child grows older, the social context of
eating can change dramatically. For example, family members may not always be present when
the child is eating. Children who live in households where there is a television set may watch a
television programme while eating instead of sitting down to eat with other family members at a
table.
Individual factors and food behaviour
Food behaviour is affected by anticipated consequences to eating or not eating. For example, is
the child rewarded for eating the food, or is he or she punished for not eating the food? Children
will often reject a food if the food is associated with sickness, for example nausea and vomiting.
One bad experience with a food can provoke a dislike for the food that will last for a long time.
With a change in health status, people’s food behaviour may change as well. For example, a
person with high blood pressure (hypertension) is recommended to eat foods that are low in salt.
However, a person with high blood sugar (diabetes) needs to choose foods that are low in sugar
and a child suffering from malnutrition needs a nutritious and varied diet. A person who is obese
and has to lose weight must eat foods that are low in fat and sugar.
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We cannot underestimate the power of advertisements in newspapers and television that can
influence the choice of foods and eating behaviours of children, young people and adults
Promotion of traditional food.
Food choices are changing and there is a definite move away from traditional foods in the youth
and city dwellers.
There are definite advantages of promoting the use of traditional foods in a rural context;
specifically in terms of nutrition and availability.
As an example the table below gives some indication of nutritional advantages in consuming
African leafy vegetables as well as cabbage which has in many ways replaced the wild leafy greens.
Table.2: Nutritional value of African leafy vegetables and cabbage/ 100gm (UNISA, 2010)
Nutrient
Amaranth
Spider
plant
Cowpea
Jews
mallow
Pumpkin
Cabbage
Protein (g)
4.6
4.8
4.1
5.2
4.2
1.7
Carbohydrate
8.2
5.2
6.8
10.3
5.0
6.0
Fibre (g)
1.8
1.2
Iron (mg)
8.9
6.0
3.9
6.3
15.9
0.7
Phosphorus
(mg)
103
111
80.1
136.4
119.2
40
Calcium (mg)
410
288
221.1
548.5
382.9
47
Vita A /
carotene(mg)
5716
2249.35
3662.99
1694.55
100
Thiamine
0.05
0.05
0.07
0.12
0.04
Riboflavin
0.42
0.01
Folic Acid (mg)
122
107
80
Vitamin C (mg)
64
13
54
Calories
42
34
26
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Cabbage leaves contains less protein, iron , calcium, phosphorus and specifically vitamin A than
the African Leafy Vegetables. Indigenous plant leaves with a high vitamin A content can be used
as supplementing vegetables.
There is still a strong pattern of consuming traditional foods at cultural events and ceremonies
and some food are still common; such as isijingi, samp dishes , isigwamba , isiphuphutu , isijabane
and isigwaqane. There are also those that are no longer common, mainly because the supply may
have become limited over time; such as dishes including cowpeas, jugo beans, imfe and the like.
Below is a table put together from interviewing community garden members across 8 Local
Municipalities in KNZ (KZNDAE&RD, 2011). Common traditional foods and their technique for
preparation were mentioned.
Table 3: Traditional foods and their method of preparation (from Traditional Food Baseline Report,
2011)
Food name
Preparation
Amadumbe
Wash amadumbe, boil them and when soft they are ready to eat.
Amahewu
Stamp mealies, remove unwanted stuff & soak in water for 2days,
remove from water & stamp again to make mealie meal. Soak mealie
meal again add boiled water to soak mealie meal mix well sieve/sift.
Take the sifted mealie meal put it in boiling water cook it like porridge.
Simmer & put it aside to cool it, add fermented amahewu & mix well
leave to ferment
Amaqobo
Remove fresh mealies from cob, boil mealies & salt. Grind peanuts &
add to boiling mealies.Mix well
Amatapana
Boil amatapane with skin. Add salt while cooking. Cook till soft.
Amathukane
Grind fresh mealies, grind peanuts. Put peanuts in water & cook, when
it starts to boil add ground mealies & salt, simmer for 2hours, mixing
well
Amavilo
Pick fruit take out the seed from umvilo tree. Add amasi and mix
together
Banana
Cook green banana. Add peanuts and boil till ready.
Bhatata
Cook sweet potatoes till soft
Cassava
Remove cover & cut into pieces, cook till soft, grind peanuts, add salt &
simmer.
Cowpeas&peanuts
Boil cowpeas and crushed peanuts or jugo beans till ready to be eaten
Ibhanqa/ifutho
(fresh mealies)
Cook till soft
Idokwe lamabele
Not very common; ferment ground millet /sorghum and cook like
porridge. Then drink it like amahewu
Imbhati (stining
nettle)
Boil imbhati leaves, add maize meal & intshungu (balsam pear). Sstir
till ready to eat. Imbhati must be more than maize meal
Diversification and Food Preparation Manual Lima RDF, Oct 2011
35
Imboya
Cut pumpkin leaves and cook . Grind peanuts and add to these leaves.
Imbuya
Cook wild vegetables. Put onions & salt, eat it with uphuthu
Imfino (imfino
yezintanga/imbuya/
cabbage)
Boil leaves, remove water then add salt and fry it. Eat with steamed
bread
Inkobe
zabhontshisi(mealies
and beans)
Cook dry maize add beans, salt
Inkobe(Izindlubu),
intshagane
Boil maize until its soft. Then add jugo bens and cook until water is
gone and the beans are soft. Add salt at the end.
Insima (Stiff pap)
Boil water add maize meal that is already mixed with water. Simmer
for 30minutes while stirring continuously
Iphalishi
lamazambane
(potato and maize
meal)
Cook potatoes till soft add maize meal & mix well, simmer for few
minutes.
Isigwamba
(isijabane)
Mixture of imifino and maize meal- common .Cook a mixture of wild
vegetables then mix mealies with water then stir and simmer for
15minutes,stirring every 5minutes
Isigwaqane (dry
beans and maize
meal)
Cook beans, add maize meal
Isijingi sebhece
Not very common
Isijingi
Peel pumpkin, cut it put in a pot mixing water with it add a cup of
mealie meal mixed with water stir &steam for 30minutes
Isijingi Sombila
Remove mealies from cob stamp mealies, remove unwanted stuff, soak
in warm water(whole day). Once soft remove from water & drain well
in a dish & then transfer it to a dish tray(ohlelweni) to drain further.
Stamp it again & put it in a dish tray & separate mealie rice, maize
meal. Boil water, mix mealie rice with cold water & add to boiling
water till soft, add salt. Add maize meal & mix well, simmer for 30min
(One can eat it with imifino and chillies)
Isimfenhlebele
Remove cover from fresh peanuts & cook till soft. Grind dry peanuts &
mix with cooked ones, add salt continue cooking.
Isinkwa sombila
Not common (no stones to grind, end up grating the mealies and
steam it till done.
Isiphuphuthu
(Mealies, beans/
cowpeas/ jugobeans)
Cook mealies till soft, add beans/cowpeas/jugobeans cook till soft mix
well it must be dry when done not watery
Isitambu
sikabhontshisi
(Samp&Beans)
Boil samp for about 15minutes than add beans cook for about 3hours
than when soft its ready eat
Diversification and Food Preparation Manual Lima RDF, Oct 2011
36
Isitambu
namankinati (samp
and peanuts)
Cook samp, once first water disappear add crushed peanuts & salt,
remove samp in the middle, add crushed peanuts & close pots
continue cooking &mix well after +/- 7hours of cooking
Isiwiliwili
Boil mealies until they are soft, cut tomato, then add water, don’t let
water dry up
Sweet potato
Cook till soft
Sweet potato &
groundnuts
Boil sweet potato mix with peanuts- then its ready to eat
Ugume
Toast maize, then grind it and its ready to eat
Uhlelenjwayo
Not common - used by forefathers: Pounded maize or sorghum stalks
that have not borne ears yet and boiled - this provides the sugar. Then
add maize meal , cook and stir until thick and soft. Cool it and drink it.
Ujeqe /isinkwa
sombila
crushed mealies cooked (steamed) - not so common
Ujeqe ogayiwe
Grind fresh mealies to make a dough add a pinch of baking powder &
salt, put dough in mealies leaves and steam till done
Umbhaqanga
(beans, and
maizemeal)
Common, cook beans till soft, then add maize meal
Umgcaba
Boil sorghum or maize and grind then add amasi (maas) ready to eat.
Umgqushu
Boil maize till soft take beans and mix it together boil till very soft and
dry then its ready for consumption
Umkhobolo
Boi samp until ready. Then in half the samp add jugo beans, peanuts
and cook again. Then mix everything together.
Umkhulwini
Cook fresh Jugo bean put salt when you done you can eat it with
mealies
Umpakatelo(Sweet
potato & Peanuts)
Peel sweet potatoes, boil it with peanut until its soft put salt then you
can eat
Modified traditional food recipes
In terms of promoting traditional foods, the use of modified
recipes that’ modernise’ these foods and make them more
‘tasty’ and appealing to younger people is a good way of
increasing consumption and visibility of these foods.
Right: A meal of traditional roasted chicken, creamed wild
vegetables and steamed bread..
Below a number of recipes are suggested. These have been
tested among youth in training and awareness raising events
Diversification and Food Preparation Manual Lima RDF, Oct 2011
37
around KZN (Value Adding Unit of the KZNDAE&RD at CEDARA and Lima RDF) and have been
found to have a broad acceptability.
GUAVA JAM (Tearfund, 2005)
Method
The fruit should be ripe, clean and chopped into
small pieces, with skin or stones removed.
Boil fruit gentle in water until it forms a soft pulp.
Add sugar and other ingredients. Boil jam fast for 5
to 20 minutes.
Test for setting by placing a small spoonful on a
clean plate.
FRUIT COCKTAIL
Method
Wash and cut fruit into pieces. Fruit can be grated.
Add fruit and sugar to water and boil for 30 minutes.
Ingredients; guava jam
6 cups chopped ripe guavas
6 cups sugar
1 teaspoons citric acid or 2 teaspoons
fruit pectin
½ cup water
Ingredients; fruit
cocktail
1 medium Pawpaw
2 large guavas
2 granadillas
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups sugar
Diversification and Food Preparation Manual Lima RDF, Oct 2011
38
Strain juice through sieve. Serve cold.
Diversification and Food Preparation Manual Lima RDF, Oct 2011
39
CHUNKY MELON AND GINGER JAM (KZNDAE&RD, 2010)
Method
Add sugar to water and heat until sugar has dissolved
Add chopped melon and stir
Once the mixture starts to boil, add ginger, lemon juice and gelatine
Boil rapidly for about 1 hour, until syrup has reached
sufficient thickness, stirring occasionally
Pour into sterilized bottles and seal immediately
CREAMED WILD VEGETABLES
Method
Wash and cut vegetables. Cook vegetables for 5 minutes.
Melt margarine. Slowly add flour while stirring to avoid
lumps. Once the paste is complete slowly add milk while
stirring continuously.
Ingredients; ibeche jam
1kg sugar
1kg chopped melon
30 ml (6 teaspoons) lemon
juice
3.5 ml (3/4 teaspoon) ginger
10 ml (2 teaspoons) gelatine
2 ½ cups water
Ingredients; Creamed wild veg.
1 handful amaranthus
1 handful kale
1 handful wild mustard
1 handful spinach
200g cheese
1 litre milk
1 cup flour
100g margarine
Diversification and Food Preparation Manual Lima RDF, Oct 2011
40
Mix with
cooked spinach.
This is a side
dish
SWEETPOTATO BITES
Method
Finely cut onion.
Mix egg and fresh cream together.
Sift flour and salt and mix with all ingredients in a
bowl.
Make small rolls
or balls with a
teaspoon and fry
Ingredients; Sweet potato bites.
2 Spring onions
1 cup flour
2 cups sweet potato, mashed
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 ml sugar
1 ml pepper
Oil for frying
Diversification and Food Preparation Manual Lima RDF, Oct 2011
41
in oil till golden brown.
GRAIN AMARANTHUS PANCAKES
(www.versagrain.com/ amaranth-pancakes)
Beat egg. Beat in milk and oil
In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients. Add dry
ingredients to egg mixture a little at a time,
mixing well after each addition.
Heat a shallow pan, oil lightly and cook until
golden brown on both sides.
Ingredients; grain amaranthus
pancakes
2 eggs
½ cup of milk
2 teaspoons oil
½ cup amaranth flour
½ cup tapioca (cassava) flour
6 tablespoons arrowroot/ cornstarch
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Oil for frying
Diversification and Food Preparation Manual Lima RDF, Oct 2011
42
References
Caister, K. 2010. Food preparation and processing. CEAD, UKZN
Carter, I. 2001. Improving food security. A PILLARS Guide. Tearfund .
Faber, M., Laurie, S. Ball, A and Andrade, M. 2010.A Crop-Based Approach to Address
Vitamin A Deficiency in Southern Africa. A Regional manual for SADC. PUlbished by ARC-
VOPI and the MRC.
KZNDAE&RD, July 2011. Traditional Foods Baseline Report. Prepared by Lima Rural
Development Foundation, for the EFSP Focus Projects.
KZNDAE&RD (Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs &Rural Development ) 2010.
Value Adding Information leaflet: Jam. CEDARA report.
KZNDAE&RD (Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs &Rural Development ) 2010.
Sweet Potato Processing. CEDARA report.
Tearfund (2005). Footsteps: Adding value to food. A quarterly newsletter linking development
workers around the world.
UNISA, 2010: Food Behaviour and Nutrition. Module 4. Programme for Household Food
security.
Diversification and Food Preparation Manual Lima RDF, Oct 2011
43
APPENDIX 1: Groups of foods for promoting diet diversity, the most important nutrients they contain and their role in
the body (UNISA, 2010)
Groups for diet
diversity
Foods
Major nutrients
Role
Cereals
Maize and maize products, bread, rice,
wheat, sorghum, pasta,
breakfast cereals, oats,
Mabella, Morvite (or
any foods made with
the above)
Good source of carbohydrates
Provide energy
Unrefined cereals are a good source of
fibre
Help the bowls to function
properly and prevent constipation
Maize meal and bread flour are
fortified with various micronutrients
Help to prevent micronutrient
deficiencies
White roots and tubers
Potato, white sweetpotato, amadumbe
Good source of carbohydrates
Provide energy
Dark-yellow and orange
fleshed vegetables and tubers
Carrot, butternut, pumpkin
Sweetpotato with dark-yellow or
orange flesh
Good source
of vitamin A
Prevent infections
Keep the eyes healthy
Help children grow properly
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44
Groups for diet
diversity
Foods
Major nutrients
Role
Dark-green leafy vegetables
Spinach, imifino, morogo, beetroot
leaves, pumpkin leaves, butternut
leaves, wild growing green leaves.
Also herbs such as dried Moringa
leaves and dried Cilanto (coriander
leaves)
Good source of vitamin A if teken
with little fat
Non-heme-iron if taken with Vitamin
C rich fruit
Prevent infections
Keep the eyes healthy
Help children grow properly
Dark-green leafy vegetables are a
good source of folate
Particularly important for
pregnant women
Vegetables other than dark-
green leafy and dark-yellow /
orange
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, green
beans, onion,
tomatoes, turnips
Provide some vitamins and minerals
Help to prevent micronutrient
deficiency
Good source of fibre
Help the bowels to function
properly and prevent constipation
Yellow / orange fruits
Ripe mangoes,
pawpaw, yellow
peach
Good source of vitamin A
Prevent infections
Keep the eyes healthy
Help children grow properly
Fruits other than yellow /
orange fleshed
Apple, banana, grape, peach,
pineapple, plum, strawberry,
watermelon
Good source of vitamins and fibre
Help the bowels to function
properly and prevents
constipation
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Groups for diet
diversity
Foods
Major nutrients
Role
Grapefruit, guava, lemon, orange,
naartjie
Good source of vitamin C
Prevent infections
Needed for healthy gums
Meat and poultry (flesh meats)
Meat: beef, goat, lamb, mutton, pork,
venison
Poultry: chicken, birds
Good source of protein
Build and maintain healthy and
strong muscles, bones, skin and
blood
Good source of iron
Make red blood cells
Organ meats
Liver,
kidney
Excellent source of heme- iron
Make red blood cells
Excellent source of vitamin A
Prevent infections
Keep the eyes healthy
Help children grow properly
Fish
Fresh fish or canned fish (e.g. sardines,
pilchards, tuna)
Good source of protein, bones good
source of calcium
Fatty fish contains essential fatty
acids
Build and maintain healthy and
strong muscles, bones, skin and
blood
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46
Groups for diet
diversity
Foods
Major nutrients
Role
Eggs
Egg white
Good source of protein
Build and maintain healthy and
strong muscles, bones, skin and
blood
Egg yolk
Good source of vitamin A
Prevent infections
Keep the eyes healthy
Help children grow properly
Milk and milk products
Milk, sour milk (amasi), cheese,
yoghurt, or any other milk products
Good source of calcium
Strong bones and teeth
Legumes, nuts and seeds
Beans (haricot beans, peas, lentils,
cowpeas, bambara nuts, nuts, seeds, or
any food made with these)
Good source of protein
Build and maintain healthy and
strong muscles, bones, skin and
blood
Good source of fibre
Helps the bowels to function
properly and prevent constipation
Sugars and sweets a
Sugar, honey, sweetened or sugary
foods such as sweets, chocolates, cake
Poor source of nutrients
Provides energy and no nutrients-
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47
Groups for diet
diversity
Foods
Major nutrients
Role
Spices, relishes and beverages a
Spices: salt, pepper, curry
Relishes: chutney, tomato sauce
Beverages: coffee, tea, alcoholic drinks
Are generally a poor source of
nutrients except for tomato sauce that
is a good source of a substance called
lycopene
Lycopene is not an essential
nutrient but is good for keeping
the prostate gland healthy and
helping prevent prostate cancer