The decision by the Food and Drugs Board to outlaw the sale and consumption of turkey tails (popularly known as ‘chofi’) makes very little sense – if any at all. It’s completely uncalled for.

Yeah, we get it. ‘Chofi’ is fatty and could therefore be unhealthy.

But alcohol poses a greater danger to health. It destroys vital organs and kills more people. Cigarettes are even more lethal. It can destroy the human in more than a dozen ways.

If the FDB hasn’t outlawed smoking and the consumption of alcohol, (particularly, the local gin, ‘akpeteshie’) what business do they have trying to stop people like me from buying, selling and enjoying fatty, delectable ‘chofi’?

I love my ‘chofi’. Many Ghanaians do too. I have met very few people who don’t like ‘chofi’ and a chunk of these people, by the way, are vegetarians who don’t eat scrambled eggs either.

‘Chofi’ is the best accompaniment, with ‘shitor’, for fried yams. It’s cheap. It’s filling. And it’s good to share. Almost every Ghanaian has enjoyed ‘chofi’ at one point or another. Yes, it’s a national delicacy. It’s unhealthy. But we like it in much the same way as smokers like to light up every now and then.

Beyond the claim that ‘chofi’ is unhealthy because of its high cholesterol content, the FDB is yet to present any empirical data to show that an inordinately large number of Ghanaians are dying or suffering from health complications occasioned by the consumption of turkey tails.

There is more compelling evidence that cigarettes and alcohol cause more harm to Ghanaians. There isn’t a doctor in Ghana who hasn’t seen people with lungs and livers damaged by smoking and alcohol, respectively. Yet there are bars and ramshackle kiosks strewn across the country which sell cigarettes and alcohol to millions of Ghanaians every day.

For years, there have been proposals for the FDB to make sure that a law is passed to ban smoking in public places. No such thing has happened and many Ghanaians are forced to become passive smokers every day.

Instead of pursuing hapless ‘chofi’ sellers, the FDB should make sure that passive smoking becomes a thing of the past. I should be able to walk into a bar – or any public space, for that matter – without being forced to inhale someone else’s toxic cigarette fumes.

The FDB should also go after those fake drug dealers who have infiltrated the market with pills that kill instead of cure.

The FDB should leave us alone to enjoy our ‘chofi’. The many obese people walking around didn’t get that way from the consumption of turkey tails alone. Most of those walking around with blocked arteries threatening their hearts didn’t get sick because of ‘chofi’. Any type of meat can cause obesity and lead to the blockade of arteries. ‘Chofi’ is just one of them. But why should ‘chofi’ take the fall for eggs, bacon and the rest.

In all of this, I feel ‘chofi’ is being victimised.

Of course, we know that ‘chofi’ is fatty and unhealthy. But like everything else, we only need to enjoy it in moderation. That’s the key. And that’s what the FDB’s message should be. A blanket ban on the sale of ‘chofi’ is as disproportionate as it is an insult to our intelligence.


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