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Warning! Cooking with paracetamol causes liver, kidney failure ─NAFDAC

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

For the umpteenth time, the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned food vendors and other Nigerians against the use of paracetamol as tenderiser in cooking meat and beans.

The government regulatory agency says it can cause kidney and liver failure.

Agency report states that Mrs. Roseline Ajayi, Kwara Coordinator of NAFDAC, Thursday, in Ilorin, the state capital, reiterated this warning during a sensitisation programme for fast-food operators and food vendors on dangers of using the drug to cook.

According to Mrs. Ajayi, “the use of paracetamol to tenderise meat and beans while cooking may be considered as a way to cut cost, but with grievous and unprecedented health implications, which include liver and kidney failure.”

She explained that paracetamol is a drug used to treat pain and fever, belonging to the class of drugs referred to as “analgesic” and “anti-pyretics”.

The common brand names available are panadol, Emzor paracetamol, commonly available in tablets, caplets and syrup dosage forms, and it is over the counter drug which is readily accessible, the NAFDAC Coordinator said.

Ajayi noted that whereas foods provide nutritional support for life, drug is a substance used in treatment, cure, and prevention of diseases.

Foods are not drugs, and they are a necessity for life, while drug is indicated for or against ailment, she further clarified.

“When drug is used for cooking, it is hydrolysed or broken down into components, which include 4-aminophenol, a highly toxic chemical to the kidney and liver.

“NAFDAC is compelled to respond to the emerging food safety issues, which is capable of consuming the health of several unsuspecting and innocent victims and citizens,” she said.

She, therefore, warned Nigerians who patronise food vendors either Bukateria, cafeteria, or fast foods that they may be exposed to indiscriminate intake of paracetamol unknowingly, which is harmful to their health.

The NAFDAC State Coordinator stressed that the latest warning became necessary, as Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC, has directed that awareness be created on the grave consequences of the practice of using paracetamol to cook foods.

She, howvever, itemised some methods of meat tenderisation that consumers could adopt to include soaking meat in salt for 30 minutes, marinating with vinegar, citrus or wine before cooking.

Other methods include using thyme and onions, as well as using pressure cooker, Ajayi said.

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