NIGERIA – The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has confiscated packs of suspected unhealthy cereals worth over N60 million (US$ 145,802) in the course of its ongoing raids across the country.

The NAFDAC Director-General Mojisola Adeyeye who disclosed this during a news briefing in Lagos, said the unwholesome products could be dangerous to the health of infants.

While advising the public to be more vigilant and to report any suspicious activities relating to fake food items and drugs, she explained that the products in question were already removed from their original packs and repackaged in transparent nylon.

“In the nationwide raid which commenced in July 2021, seven trucks conveying 4,578 cartons of various unlabelled, transparent nylon packed cereals worth over 60 million naira were confiscated by the agency,” Adeyeye said.

She informed that NAFDAC was unable to verify the sources of the various falsely packed cereals and dairy products hence cannot guarantee the safety of the products for consumption.

She added that during one of the agency’s operations, “a suspect declared that the CocoPops, CornFlakes and Oats being displayed for sale in transparent nylons were sourced from LAWMA waste disposal trucks before repackaging into transparent nylons.”

NAFDAC is responsible for regulating foods, drugs and related products in the country. The agency is mandated to ensure that the masses are protected against substandard food products and it carries out its regulatory functions with support from security agencies. Nevertheless, the agency lacks offices across the 36 states of the federation, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Adeyeye disclosed that NAFDAC has embarked on raids of markets and supermarkets ahead of the festive season. The agency called upon the cooperation of the public, corporate bodies, religious leaders, traditional rulers, health practitioners, gentlemen of the press and all stakeholders in its effort to rid the nation of fake and unwholesome products.

“The counterfeiters are not spirits, they live among us and flaunt their ill-gotten and blood money. To assist us, please report to the nearest NAFDAC office in your neighbourhood, town, or city across the country. Consumers are hereby enjoined to ‘shine their eyes’ when making purchases of products and should not patronize roadside and street vendors,” she said.

Anti-counterfeit Act

In line with this, the Senate has passed through second reading of a Bill for an Act to introduce measures aimed against the manufacturing, production, possession, and distribution of counterfeit goods in Nigeria.

Sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the bill also provides for a criminal investigation into counterfeiting and seeks to make the prosecution of such crime less cumbersome to provide effective control of counterfeit goods.

Presenting the lead debate on the bill, Senator Amosun explained that the proposed legislation was imperative as existing legislations have largely been limited, restrictive, and weak in enforcement mechanism.

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