The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), on Wednesday, urged Nigerians and employers of food vendors to report people using paracetamol as food tenderizer.
Mr Sherif Olagunju, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition expert at NAFDAC, in a telephone interview with Newsmen, said the agency had sensitised the public on the side effects of using paracetamol to cook meat.
“Our staffers have been visiting restaurants and parks as well as food vendors, advising them against the use of paracetamol as meat tenderizer.
“We also tell members of the public to ask food vendors on what was used to cook their food when they eat outside.
“This is a way of keeping food vendors on their toes so that they now know that people are watching them.
“We also encourage people working in these restaurants to `blow the whistle` on their owners by coming to report at NAFDAC, if they are adding or asking them to use substances like paracetamol to cook meat”, Olagunju said.
He urged people to use natural methods for tenderising meat such as pressure cooker and cooking meat.
According to him, there are NAFDAC-approved meat tenderizers, aside using vegetables, salt and certain enzymes.
Olagunju said that using paracetamol and bleach to cook or process food was poison which could damage some internal organs of the body.
“The consequences of some of these things usually manifest as liver problems, kidney malfunctioning or failure and other problems because the chemicals that are unapproved for consumption.
“Some people might say bleach consists of hydrochloride which is used for water treatment but there is a specific concentration that is used for water treatment.
“ For instance in pipe borne water, the maximum specification concentration recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is two to four packs per million, that means one pack in every one million litre of water.
“Bleach is a chemical not approved for consumption; so we advise that people should not use what is not meant for consumption, such as detergents, for food processing because they do a lot of damage to our organs,’’ the NAFDAC official said.
According to him, when pharmaceutical products are subjected to high temperature, they break down into other substances that are very dangerous and injurious to health.