Quality of cassava foods in Sierra Leone

Authors

  • Alex F J Blanshard,

    1. Department of Applied Biochemistry & Food Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, LE12 5RD, UK
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  • Mohamed T Dahniya,

    1. Institute of Agricultural Research, PMB 540, Freetown, Sierra Leone
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  • Nigel H Poulter,

    1. Natural Resources Institute, Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent, ME4 4TB, UK
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  • Andrew J Taylor

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Applied Biochemistry & Food Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, LE12 5RD, UK
    • Department of Applied Biochemistry & Food Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, LE12 5RD, UK
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Abstract

Gari and foofoo (fermented cassava foods) were purchased in the Freetown markets of Sierra Leone and analysed for factors associated with quality. Sellers were generally knowledgable about the source of the products which all originated from the country areas outside Freetown. The mean cyanide contents were higher (8.6 mg kg−1 DM for gari and 28.2 mg kg−1 DM for foofoo) than the amounts suggested by the Codex specification and, because of the distribution of the values around the mean, some samples necessarily contained unacceptable amounts of cyanide. Cyanogens were present as the cyanohydrin or as free cyanide; no glucoside was detected. Microbiological analysis of the samples showed high counts for total organisms, fungi and Enterobacteriaceae (106–107 g−1). The mean water content of gari was 119 g kg−1 which falls within the recommended limit of 120 g kg−1 but again, due to the distribution of values around the mean, some samples had considerably higher water contents than that limit. Titratable acidity and pH were measured and the mean pH values were 4.18 for foofoo and 4.55 for gari. The particle size and swelling power of gari samples were also measured as these relate to consumer acceptance. The data show the quality of current cassava foods marketed in a major urban centre in Sierra Leone. As centralised processing develops, improvements can be made to those quality parameters which have been identified as important.

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