Kakro: Health Risks of Overripe Plantain Snack Unraveled


The ever delicious plantain snack called Kakro might turn out to be unhealthy after all. A former dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor George Tawia Odamtten has cautioned the public against eating ‘kakro’.

Kakro is made with mashed plantain, made into balls and fried in hot oil. It is a regular snack for both young and old. However, the manner in which some of these are prepared has become a subject for discussion on health platforms.

For those who do not know, Kakro is prepared with soft plantain that is almost decayed or rotten. This according to Professor Odamtten raises the risk of cancer among its consumers; as rotten plantain contains a type of fungi which poses health risks to the lungs.

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However, one kakro is not enough to expose one to such risks. According to the professor, the continued consumption of kakro made with rotten plantain could lead to cancer.

Prof. Odamtten made this known while delivering a public lecture organized by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Science in Accra. He urged market women to be mindful of the kind of plantain they use in preparing kakro. He also called on civil society groups to “help farmers” preserve crops from decaying. 



More Observations

Other observations made by the Professor during the lecture, was that market women sell the decayed or rotten plantain to those who prepare ‘kakro’ in order not to make losses. He advised those who prepare ‘kakro’ to use ripe plantain in order not to put the health of people at risk.

The Professor also lay emphasis on the need to strengthen awareness on food safety and security as well as to create mechanisms to check foodstuffs sold at the various markets. This will help curb some of the unhealthy mechanisms devised by local food vendors.

Can Kakro Be Made With Ripe Plantain?

From the general perspective, there are no restrictions as to when you can or cannot eat it. They taste great whatever the stage of ripeness. However as long as I remember, Kakro is made with overripe plantain. This is because of the increased sugar content in the plantain which makes it sweet.

The sugar content in overripe plantain can be dramatically higher than in the firm plantains. This is why an overripe plantain is a preferable option for Kakro.