Unhygienic Practice Alert: NAFDAC Cracks Down on Unlabeled Industrial Milk & Cereals in Open Markets. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has put in place additional measures to curb the incidence of unbranded cereals and other food items of industrial sizes that enter into the open markets possibly from the warehouses of food manufacturing companies.
The director general, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who made the assertion at the end-of-year stakeholders’ open dialogue and feedback session with food manufacturing companies, over the weekend, averred that the unbranded milk and cereals have their attendant health hazards for the undiscerning consumers because of the mode of dispensing in unsanitary conditions.
Adeyeye who was represented by the director of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN), Mrs. Eva Edwards, registered the concerns of the Agency over the perennial problem of ubiquity of bulk food items that are found in the markets, possibly from the manufacturing plants or their suppliers, describing it as unacceptable.
The DG noted that the items enter the country because companies have applied to use them in the manufacture of their NAFDAC registered products, noting with dismay that ‘’we are concerned that we find these items being sold in measures, scoops in the open markets. So we are looking at that process of issuing permits for bulk food raw materials very critically’’.
According to her, the Agency has put in place additional measures for assessing and verifying the utilisation records of each company that applies for import permits to import bulk food raw materials.
‘’We don’t want to just see your stock cards, we want to know what you imported in the previous year. We want to know what you used because there are some calculations that we need to make’’, she explained.
She went further to remind the manufacturers that the Agency knows the ingredients that are used in their products, adding that she had the opportunity to have one-on-one discussions with some companies and it was discovered that sometimes companies request far more than they require, because they feel that the quantities are going to be cut by the Agency.
The NAFDAC boss however, emphasised that, “If they can show records of utilisation of the quantities requested in a previous cycle, that it was used, we will check and do our calculations and if we realise that yes that company is doing business to those levels, we look at the quantity requested and grant approval’’.
She acknowledged that businesses exist to make a profit, adding that ‘’when you are projecting for the coming year, obviously you are also thinking about doing more business. There is always some allowance for that. What we don’t want to see is that diversion into the open market. We don’t want people measuring milk and cereals in cups and measures in 2024. It is an unhygienic practice. It is not good for the general population in terms of food safety and hygiene’’.
In the same vein, the chairman, Technical Committee of the Association of Food, Beverage, and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), Mr Fred Chiazor, commended NAFDAC for its proactiveness in responding to developments in the industry.
He noted that ‘’FSAN as a Directorate sees the stakeholders as partners and not as criminals. It is a Directorate that wants improvement, and this is a win-win. We are happy that you are doing what you should be doing to grow the industries’’.