Food Originals

If Coronavirus spread from bat, will ‘exotic’ foods of NE India be under Scanner?

Fight Coronavirus

– Anindita Das

A recent movie from North East highlighted the meat-eating habit of the people belonging to the region. The film was critically acclaimed for having an out of the box idea, which is usually not dealt with.  However, on a superficial level it showed how the people relish different kinds of meat. At the same time, some held that people from outside North East would create a negative impression about the region, “People will be afraid of visiting North East now”, remarked an entrepreneur after watching it. The North East and some other parts of India are known for their bizarre eating habits.

The ‘exotic’ food of North East includes dishes made out of frogs in Sikkim, snail stew, steamed hornet larvae in Nagaland, dog meat in Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur, pig brain in Meghalaya and silkworm curry in Assam. Frog is eaten in Goa too and in Chhattisgarh red ants chutney is a delicacy. The eating of animals in India is a traditional practice and culturally arbitrary too as the different groups have their own specific animal food.

Thus, in the current situation when the entire globe is taking precautionary measures to avoid coronavirus, many people are blaming the Chinese for their weird food habit, as the virus said to have originated in Wuhan where there is a wet market that sold wild animals. Moreover, it is somewhat hilarious when Indian blames Chinese ‘Exotic’ food habits to be the root cause of the outbreak, as in India too in some places people prefer to eat only meat, for instance in Nagaland most people eat pork and rice, which in fact is an imbalanced diet and can create health problems due to various nutrient deficiencies.

Coronavirus. Representative Image. Photo : Google

 During early 2015, there was a swine flu outbreak in India. The flu caused by the H1N1 virus took the lives of more than 2000 people in the country. In 2009 also there was a pandemic flu outbreak. Every year during the winter people dies due to swine flu as temperature affects the virus. But it has not yet proved if eating pork can cause swine flu as it was actually a blend of pig, bird and human flu viruses.

Though it is said coronavirus is originated in China, but there is no concrete evidence to it. It is for thousands of years that the people are eating meat, and the zoonotic diseases are not spread by eating animals but by coming in contact with infected animals. However, “what appears to be more dangerous is the color used in the grains and lentils, the pesticide in vegetables and the formalin in fish which causes cancer”, remarks a physician.

The chemicals used to make livestock grow faster and fatter in farms can create severe health problems. So, it is imperative to eat a balanced diet avoiding contaminated food and to keep the immune system strong with adequate physical activity so that no disease can affect easily. Eating safe and nutritious food thus becomes the ultimate mantra to lead a healthy life. 

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