The National Agency for Food Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC), has called on Nigerians to stop cooking their meals with paracetamol or any other drug, saying the practice was harmful.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos recently, the Director General, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said the practice referred to as food tenderising was synonymous to digging one's grave as it endangers the kidney.
She said: "Few weeks ago when I heard about using drugs to tenderise, I was shocked. Now that I am hearing that it is common, it shocks me the more because drugs are not supposed to be used for food. Para amino phenol in food destroys the kidney. Apart from that, there are other things that can affect the kidney in the practice.
"For someone to use paracetamol for cooking is synonymous to digging one's grave. Because it's not only when you go the canteen to eat but when you do consistently go there to eat. At a time, the kidney will be blocked and refuse to work. For example, people use dye to make oil redder, and at the end of the day it blocks the kidney.
"That is one of the reasons why we place more emphasis on food in NAFDAC. I cannot get over it sacrificing your life because of food. We don't have enough facilities for dialysis so we harp on prevention."
Adeyeye said the agency was working with the government to increase its capacity; getting more workers and vehicles for better operations so as to serve the Nigerian people better.
"We have been going round to test cow leg in canteens to know if they use drugs. That was why we are pleading with the government to give us more staff, and we also need vehicles and I am sure the government is working on that. So we are also working hard. We can use pressure cooker to tenderise or salt water, but it is not worth to sacrifice one's health because of food."
Adeyeye said that the fight against illicit food and drugs practices needs a collaborative effort from different stakeholders.
"We want to make NAFDAC very strong; we cannot have goals without having internal capacity. We have already started trainings. Our goal is to reach that level that will help NAFDAC manufacture vaccine," she added.