The drug is used in cooking to accelerate the cooking of meat and to soften it.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria warned in late 2019 against the dangerous use of paracetamol in food preparation. This widespread practice in Nigeria also
affects other African countries.
A Dangerous Practice
The Nigerian public health agency has launched the alert following the publication on social networks of tips to tenderize the meat and speed up its cooking. Paracetamol recipes have serious health consequences.
When used in cooking, the drug is broken down or hydrolyzed into a toxic substance that damages the liver and certain other organs, says the health agency. Households and especially restaurants are asked to stop
using paracetamol tablets to soften the meat. ” (…) This illegal practice makes food toxic, unhealthy and unfit for consumption.” NAFDAC, Nigerian health agency
A Recipe Widely Used In Africa
It’s mostly snack bars and other small roadside restaurants that use paracetamol to speed up the cooking of meat or other foods like white beans. It is often a matter of saving time and saving on charcoal or gas. In
the absence of strict sanitary control, it is difficult to know the extent of this practice which would have started in the 2000s.
The Nigerian health agency has strengthened surveillance of restaurants to prevent this dangerous and illegal use in the kitchen.
“Anyone or organization involved in the dangerous and illegal use of paracetamol tablets in food preparation will be severely punished.” NAFDAC, Nigerian health agency
Despite repeated warnings, this toxic practice has unfortunately spread to other countries on the continent such as Ghana, Uganda and even Cameroon, as the site 237online highlights.
By Subiru M.