NIGERIA – In a resounding call to action, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has issued a stern warning to Nigerians against the perilous consumption of unbranded cereals that flood open markets across the nation.

The Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, delivered this vital message during a recent gathering at the Agency’s Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate Stakeholder’s Engagement in Lagos.

Prof. Adeyeye minced no words in emphasizing the dangers posed by unbranded cereals.

“When a product is not certified by NAFDAC, it is not advisable that anybody should consume it. The unbranded products in the market do not have NAFDAC registration/marketing authorization number,” she firmly asserted.

This stark reality underscores the potential health hazards lurking in unregulated goods.

Moreover, the Director General extended NAFDAC’s scrutiny to food manufacturing companies, issuing a clear ultimatum.

She declared that NAFDAC would no longer tolerate poorly disposed of, expired, or stolen products surreptitiously infiltrating the market through scavengers at waste dumpsites. Such clandestine operations, she pointed out, not only endanger the lives of innocent consumers but particularly pose a threat to children.

The Safety Seal: NAFDAC registration numbers

Highlighting a crucial aspect of the agency’s regulatory process, Adeyeye emphasized that all products that have undergone NAFDAC’s rigorous scrutiny are packaged with NAFDAC registration numbers.

These numbers are not just a formality; they are a guarantee of quality, safety, and compliance with stringent standards.

Adeyeye aptly articulated the conundrum surrounding unbranded food products.

“We cannot speak to the safety of unbranded food in the open market. We do not know where they have come from. We don’t know anything about the expiry date. We cannot trace,” she stated, shedding light on the inherent risks involved in consuming these products.

NAFDAC disclosed it had already undertaken significant investigative and enforcement activities in 2021 and 2022.

These efforts led to the apprehension of individuals engaged in online sales of unbranded cereals in Onitsha, who were subsequently brought to Lagos to face the full force of the law.

The crackdown on unbranded cereals is part of NAFDAC’s broader mission to ensure food safety and protect consumers from the risks associated with substandard and unregulated products.

The agency’s actions serve as a reminder of the pivotal role regulatory bodies play in maintaining public health and confidence in the marketplace.

This development also underscores the need for consumers to be vigilant and discerning when purchasing food products.

Always look for the NAFDAC registration numbers on the packaging to guarantee the safety and quality of the items you buy.

In an era where food safety is paramount, NAFDAC’s unwavering commitment to its mandate reflects a commendable effort to safeguard the well-being of Nigerians. However, it also raises questions about the broader issue of food security in the nation and the challenges posed by unregulated food products in open markets.

As NAFDAC continues its crackdown on unbranded cereals, it remains to be seen how this action will impact the food supply chain and consumer behavior.

Will it drive consumers to demand more stringent regulations, or will it prompt unscrupulous actors to adapt and find new avenues for their activities? Only time will tell, but for now, NAFDAC’s message is clear: safety first, always.

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