Defining what a Tomato Paste is a thick and rich concentrate made by cooking tomatoes for a period of time till the moisture is reduced.
Tomato paste was a well-patronized alternative for Nigerian kitchen during the time Tomato Ebola sent tomatoes away from the stalls. Thankfully enough, tomatoes are back to our markets – fresh, red and healthy, so we are no longer robbed of the freshness that comes with the real tomato. Besides, tomato paste itself is not healthy for preparing meals and should be not be used regularly because of the many health hazards it poses- both in cans and in sachets.
Puzzled? Find out why!
Most tomato pastes have their composition changed from the real tomato content when they are packaged in tins and cans because of the presence of Bisphenol-A, a harmful chemical used to coat the linings of cans and most plastic products.
Unavoidably, this chemical- Bisphenol-A, can leak into the contents and become a threat to consumer’s health. According to researches, they could go on to cause any of these:
- Hormonal disruption: Bisphenol-A can cause hormonal disruption in humans if it is leaked into the tomato paste that will be used in cooking.
We are usually at risk because of the duration in which the tomato paste gets stored in those tins or cans that are coated with this harmful chemical.
- Increased Chances of Mental Disorder: Also, continuous consumption of this chemical which could have been absorbed into the tomato paste used for cooking could increase the risk of mental disabilities in babies. This means it is not a healthy choice for expecting mothers.
- Risk of miscarriage: Without boring you with the chemical composition of this harmful chemical, the disintegration of Bisphenol-A in the body which is leaked as a result of tomato paste packaged in cans that are lined with it can put you at risk when it comes to miscarriage.
Tomato pastes are being singled out of all products that could be packed into cans and containers because tomatoes are highly acidic. They can absorb more of the Bisphenol-A chemical from the tin coating into the food.
- Increased risk of cancer: Just like any other processed food that has been packed for too long, there is every tendency that some of the regular consumers would end up with cancer.
The BPA chemical puts one at risk of cancer and since tomatoes are high offenders of the chemicals considering their high level of acidity, consuming this product is not so healthy.
- Malfunction of organs in children: Although the economic situation has forced many homes in the country to improvise and make more use of tomato paste, it may not seem like a healthy choice for the children, especially if the tomato pastes are in cans and tins.
This puts them at risk of consuming the Bisphenol-A (BPA) chemical which could cause some of their organs to malfunction.
- Sperm defects: Bisphenol-A chemical has the ability to disrupt the development of sperm in men. This means that continuous intake of this chemical through the use of tin tomato would lead to a decline in male fertility.
BPA mimics the effects of estrogen and end up damaging the stem cells.
That being said, we understand that tomato paste is an essential commodity at this point and not everyone would be able to avoid cooking with it.
In other cases, high blood pressure, has been linked to regular consumption of canned and sachet tomato paste, especially the bright coloured ones.
One really cannot vouch for the tomato pastes imported into the country, with recent report claiming that over 91.1 percent of imported tomato pastes in Nigeria were fake and substandard.
With this knowledge, if you prefer to cook using tomato paste, you can learn how to make it yourself and save it up in jars instead of using tomato paste in cans or sachets.
- ‘Seyifunmi Adebote for encomium.ng