Editor's Note [Volume 21 No. 5 (2021)]

How safe is our water food?

Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted at a UN event

Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted is a resident of Denmark and was born in Trinidad and Tobago. Her family as well as most other inhabitants of the island were descendants of Indian families brought there as agricultural labourers. As a young girl, Dr. Shakuntala would observe her grandmother's cooking and appreciate the nuances of its impact on health. She started her career as the first and only woman in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries on the island of Tobago World Food Prize website

I wish to use my editor’s note for issue 100 to celebrate a friend I have known for decades, as we met through the corridors of various global conferences and discourses, discussing various aspects of nutrition. One could tell from her names that she was a blend and very global. I had no idea as to who was likely to win the coveted World Food Prize 2021 and was pleasantly surprised to learn of Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted’s huge achievement.

We probably do not pay enough attention to what lies below the surface as much as we do to what is above and on it. Land is, of course, the major source of food for those of us who live far away from the waterways. Yet, there is so much in the waters that one does not quite appreciate it unless one grows up or lives by the waters as Dr. Thilsted did.

Maybe that is why the oceans, lakes, and rivers became dumping ground for toxins, roughages, oil spills, bodies of humans and animals, biological waste, and lately plastics. Little did we realize that one of the most treasured foods for human consumption, fish, seaweed, and algae carry those bad elements that human beings then end up ingesting. Plastics, it has been found, get into the stomachs of sea fish and end up strangling them; the same plastics also enter the muscle of the fish, and ultimately into human bodies when we consume them. Toxic chemicals like mercury, get into fish muscle, and then into human bodies. Surely this is not a good situation. How do we clean up the waters to ensure clean and safe food? And by now we all know how healthy sea/lake/river foods are, but not when they are full of toxins.

Our Guest Editor for this issue is Prof Fanuel Kapute of Mzuzu University, Malawi, a true friend of AJFAND as he has been associated with us for a long time. His Editorial is on FISH in Malawi. He is a fish expert. He points out what a great economic and food security resource fish can be, but only if managed properly.

In this issue, we have 10 high quality papers, rigorously reviewed. We also have a write-up on quality indexing by AJFAND’s Assistant Editor, Ms. Mary Njeri Karanu; it makes interesting reading. A reaction from the last issue, just one of many, is from Dr John Lupien.

"I did not know it took so much to perfect an article"... says one successful first time author.

Ruth Oniang'o
Editor-in-Chief, AJFAND


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