The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned that poorly-destroyed expired or stolen products from food manufacturers are sneaking into the markets through scavengers.
The agency, in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Sunday, said that such practice was unacceptable as it endangered the lives of innocent consumers.
It added that the Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, made this known at its Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate Stakeholders Engagement with food sector operators in Lagos.
Adeyeye in the statement also warned Nigerians against patronising and consumption of unbranded cereals in the open market.
“If a product doesn’t have NAFDAC number, we can’t guarantee the safety and it is not advisable that such products should be consumed.
“We cannot speak to the safety of unbranded foods in the open market because we don’t know where they come from, their expiry date cannot be traced,” she said.
According to Adeyeye, the agency in 2021 and 2022 carried out investigation and enforcement activities on unbranded cereals leading to the arrest of some people that were selling online in Onitsha and brought them to Lagos.
She said that the investigation revealed that people preferred to buy the unbranded product in spite of inherent dangers associated with it.
“We considered the circumstances and the packaging and we couldn’t really understand whether it is cheaper.
“We found out that the smallest packages of cereals were also removed from the packaging materials and also sold in bulk online,” the statement quoted Adeyeye as saying.
The NAFDAC boss also stated that some industries were also part of the problem through their poor disposal process.
She said that some of the products were also stolen from the companies’ warehouses and sold to the public.
Adeyeye said: “We found out that some of the cereals were picked up from dump sites in Agbara.
“Our investigations revealed that the products were disposed through Ogun State Waste Management Authority. The disposal methods of companies are also an issue.
“If you want to dispose of some bad or expired products, you are supposed to destroy it through NAFDAC Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, not by company directly through waste disposal authorities.
“It will always get to scavengers who will sell it back to the market.
“We also found out that not all the products had expired. Some of them were in company’s packaging materials when diverted to sell in retail prices.
“We also must sensitise the industry because if there are compromises in the industry, it could lead to serious dangers to our health,” she said.
She, however, called for the investigation and prosecution of those who took the products from the dump site for sale.
Adeyeye urged manufacturers of food products to always be more concerned about their products in the market by establishing Post Market Surveillance Unit in their companies.
She said that NAFDAC had made Post Marketing Surveillance (PMS) mandatory for companies some years ago but compliance had been poor.
She stated that henceforth, companies without post marketing surveillance or Post Marketing Pharmacovigilance for drug manufacturing companies would be denied their products’ renewal.