Garri & Agege Bread - What Manner of Controversy?

Nowadays I’m usually sceptical about any sensational news about some food item that I’ve been used to consuming being said to contain some substance or chemical that could be detrimental to my health. Who comes up with such hard to stomach rubbish when the said food has always been part of one’s way of life for several years?

Take Garri for instance.

This food item has not only become a popular food item with all classes of Nigerians but has played a very important role in the life of every Nigerian student from secondary school level to tertiary education level. It is the simplest food to prepare and consume and complement with ‘accessories’ like sugar, groundnut or milk. It is the total embodiment of what you’ll call ‘fast food’. Even when you’re as poor as a church rat, Garri seems to never desert you. There was a time I got tired of eating those extra garnished meals during lunch break and brought some Garri to work. With just some water from the office dispenser and a couple of groundnuts from the aboki across the road, I was good to go on a fast lunch. Some colleagues saw me grubbing the Garri and retorted that it was a good idea, and even asked me if I had some to share. Nobody with a past romance with Garri could resist the idea of lunching on this simple meal.

And then there was a time news spread around that Garri was dangerous to your health; that it could destroy your eyes!

I was in secondary school when that news came out and everybody fell hook, line and sinker for it; especially the school authorities. Suddenly schools began to ban Garri and declared it a contraband item. Students where told never to bring Garri amongst their provisions to school but it was hard to do that. Thus students ventured into the act of smuggling the cherished food item into dormitories. I remember in my secondary school days when we just resumed for a new term; you’d submit your luggage to the housemaster and his committee to search your luggage for any of the famous ‘contraband’. Many of us devised ways to get the stuff into the dormitories. We even gave it a code name – ‘Garium Sulphide’ after some chemical science students got to know about in chemistry classes.

The fact remained that there was nothing you could do to stop students from consuming Garri. What they couldn’t even do with Garri in secondary school, they aachieved in the University. I have been consuming Garri for more than 20 years and my eyes are still as sharp as bird’s. All other devotees of Garri that I know that have remained loyal to ‘Garium’

So what about the BS on Garri ruining your eyes?

Then came the mescaforming info about Agege bread.

Agege bread is another food item that sits in the class of Garri. Many of us (especially those of us who were not born with a silver spoon) fed and grew up judiciously on evergreen this brand of bread which probably bears a similarity to what bread must have looked like in the days of our Lord Jesus Christ (remember those moments he shared bread for his apostles and the people?). Fortunately, many of us have left secondary school before Agege bread was declared a dangerous food item that contained bromate; a somewhat harmful God-knows-what.

Annoyingly and as usual, people fell for it and all of a sudden, the competition of Agege Bread, which is the brand of bread known as ‘sliced bread’ seemed to sell more. Some even went as far as tagging their bread ‘bromate free’, whatever the hell that means.

But I just love the way these food items seem to bounce back in their essential commodity glory. People seemed to have thrown the ‘bromate’ awareness in the trash bin because Agege bread still sells like hot cakes! There’s a woman on my street who sells bread. 80% of her bread is Agege bread, the rest are the sliced variety. In two days she sells off the Agege bread while the Sliced variety stay on the shelf for about four days.

I can’t resist Agege bread. Neither can many of my friends. I grew up on this food item. Mum would feed me and my siblings about four times a week on Agege bread with something. And today we’re all still as fit as a fiddle. Where’s the damage from the bromate? Even my younger brother who came from Scotland recently demanded passionately to eat Agege bread for breakfast one Sunday morning. He even told me that he and his Naija friends in Aberdeen had a place where they could always purchase Agege bread but it was scarce, frigging expensive and ALSO BROMATE FREE, and it came from a bakery owned by Indians who employed Nigerians to do the baking! What the hell?!!

Even our celebrities can't deny the important role this bread played and still plays in our lives. Ask Uche Jombo!

I think government bodies like NAFDAC should watch what the kind of info they dole out to the public. If stuff kills oyinbo but does nothing to us, why feed us the BS? 

They make noise over our staple meals yet they say nothing about the dangerous content in some of the processed foods circulating Naija’s market. What about that nasty sweetener called ‘Aspertame’? It’s present in Diet coke and Pepsi Light drinks, it’s present in Nutri C, the popular fruit powder drink and Amarila, another powder drink being marketed for children in Nigeria.  I discovered that when I stopped taking Nutri C, my health improved (I used to have all the symptoms associated with excessive consumption of Aspartame – and if you want to know what these symptoms are just google ‘the problem with aspartame’ or something)

Now I’m wondering…which food will they condemn next? It really gets me thinking that some diabolic individuals are using these crooked strategies to make some money; create a problem and then sell a solution. But I’m wiser to understand that I should never ‘fall mugu’ to another misyarn about any food that’s played an important role in our lives.

Garri & Nutri C images Courtesy

11 Screamer(s):

Interesting perspective. You sound annoyed. I think you should read my post on chemicals we are exposed to these days.

I think that Nafdac does not do enough to educate us about the processed foods that flood into the market or even protect us from them.

Diseases do not know skin color. The same diseases that will kill Oyibo will kill us too. The only thing is that they have been more exposed to chemicals over the years than we have so their own diseases are manifesting quicker than ours.

If you are interested in reading my post, please follow this link:

It is a 2 part post.

Oh gosh I looooove agege bread....sweetest bread in the world!

Harry Itie said...

Well said man. What will life be without Garri and Agege Bread...


Thank God for many blessings

AlooFar said...

Now I'm hungry.

Talk about Branding... I miss Agege bread o. IN fact, I miss Gaari join sef. lol. Ilu Oyibo get im own disadvantage o.. chei!


jhazmyn said...

Lmao, I remember my Mom-in-law tripping over the fact that i was eating agege bread, when she come over to my place, I almost fell on the floor with laughter...but there's some iota of truth in the bromate fact and the processed chemical in nutri-C, dunno about garri sha, bu no one shud sing that music my way

Tetekai said...

Gari is known as 'students companion' in Ghana. In fact, no 'proper' secondary school student leaves for boarding school without this trusty companion. I think we got that scare of gari not being good for our health; something to do with high starch content and stuff. I still eat gari with various accompaniments, especially with shito(black pepper sauce) and some form of protein.
Gari forever! :)

Omoregee said...

Yes o! Garri for life!

I think I have taken more than my fair share for my entire stay on earth sef n my eyes still dey kampe! gal once said that any guy who asks her for the way to my heart, she shall say garri+ G.nut+cold water!

Funny tho, I dnt take it as much as I used to back in school....

...first time here, I love ur posts.

Afronuts said...

@Natural Nigerian…Thanks so much for the info. I checked it out on your site. Really useful.

@Sisi Yemmie…you know!

@Harry…lol! Thank God for agege bread and garri

@Aloofar…why won’t you be? Its garri and agege bread we’re talking about.

@Le Dynamique…lol…what a brand! You can’t get it in ilu oyinbo like you get it in Naija.

@jhazmyn…aww…you mum-in-law is an agege loyalist! About the bromate issue, maybe you should check out Natural Nigerian’s link. There are some points there.

@Tetekai…For real? They eat garri in Ghana too? And the schools too did it like we do here in Naija? I never knew! Thanks for sharing. Now I know!

@Omoregee…Infact I still had garri last night. Wifey wanted to cook something else but I insisted on Garri with snail and meat. You’ll still take again someday…its because other foods have occupied your menu.

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