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Food vendors risk jail over paracetamol usage – NAFDAC

by Damilola Agekameh

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has revealed intentions to start checking and arresting food vendors using paracetamol as a meat softener, establishing that the act was inimical to consumers.

The agency through Director-General Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye disclosed that it would intensify its campaign against abuse of the medicine by some Nigerians, who use it to cook their food. She further explained that the agency heard about the practice of cooking with paracetamol in December 2019 and that all efforts to discourage it had so far yielded little or no results.

Prof. Adeyeye revealed that no arrest had been made but stated that plans had been concluded for a special task force, who were to visit food vendors, take samples of their soups for a laboratory test and facilitate the apprehension of those found to have used the drug in cooking.

 “When I got to know about Paracetamol and Aspirin being used to cook “ponmo” (cow skin) in the name of food softener, I said to myself what else can we not do? Paracetamol is medicine and an analgesic to be taken for pains, and for some Nigerians to use it to cook meat as tenderizer? This surprises me. Paracetamol is a chemical that changes when the temperature is high; it changes from Paracetamol or Alcetaminophin to paraminophino and benzoquin. Our people don’t realise that chemical will always be chemical, and when subjected to unusual temperature, pressure, and humidity, it changes”.

Adeyemi reiterated that alcetaminophin, paraminophino and benzoquin are chemical products that destroy the kidney and that the agency would not fold its arms and watch Nigerians die from drug abuse.

She assured the populace of NAFDAC’s commitment to its mandate of safeguarding the health of the people and added that all hands would be on deck to continue enlightening Nigerians on the need to take their health seriously and be conscious of what they consume and where they purchase what they eat.

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