A Physician Assistant at the Wassa Akropong Government Hospital, Mr Obed Sefah Boakye has cautioned against the use of paracetamol by some food vendors in the country to cook meat and beans, describing it as deadly.
According to him, when the drug is used for cooking, it breaks down into other forms (metabolites) that may not possess its original properties as a pain killer and thus could lead to toxicity.
He further explained that "when the process occurs, the drug is hydrolyzed into what is called 4-aminophenol, which is very toxic to the kidney and liver and could lead to liver failure, kidney failure, pancreatitis, hypoglycemia, lactic acidosis and neurotoxicity, among others".
Mr Sefah in this regard cautioned, food vendors, to desist from the practice to improve on public health and prevailed upon the public to be careful where they bought their food from.
Mr Sefah made this known when the Ghana News Agency informed him of the practice and called on him for his submission on the medical effects the practice could pose, of which he was astounded and described it as an unfortunate practice which must be frowned upon.
The Ghana News Agency gathered that some food vendors in the country were using paracetamol in cooking meat and beans as a means to soften it quickly.
This practice had been occurring since the early 2000s when it became widely known that it was practiced in Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria by some food vendors.
Interacting with some food vendors in the Takoradi Central Business District (CBD) to ascertain whether it was true that some food vendors used paracetamol to prepare their meat and beans, Madam Ophelia Awortwe answered on the affirmative but was quick to add that she did not engage in the practice.
When asked why some vendors used paracetamol to prepare meat and beans, she explained that using paracetamol in cooking meat or beans was to tenderize the meat to avoid the long hours of boiling in order to meet the increasing demands of their customers.
According to her, “that is to say when paracetamol is used in cooking meat or beans, it softens quickly rather than taking so long on the fire to soften”.