In a resolute move to safeguard public health, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has issued a stern caution to citizens regarding the potential hazards linked with consuming unbranded cereals available in open markets. The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, conveyed this message during the recent Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate Stakeholder’s Engagement event held in the bustling city of Lagos.
The core focus of this advisory is the conspicuous absence of NAFDAC certification on unbranded cereal products. Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye strongly emphasized that, in the absence of a valid NAFDAC certification, individuals should exercise utmost care and abstain from the consumption of such products. She stressed, “When a product lacks NAFDAC’s seal of approval, it is strongly discouraged for anyone to contemplate its consumption. The unbranded items pervasive in the market lack the essential NAFDAC registration and marketing authorization number.“
Taking this warning a step further, Prof. Adeyeye extended her concerns to encompass food manufacturing companies. She elucidated the Agency’s unwavering determination to confront the challenge posed by improperly disposed, expired, or stolen products infiltrating the market. Often scavenged from waste dumpsites, these products pose grave threats to the health of consumers, with children being particularly vulnerable.
The Director General reiterated that all products that have undergone NAFDAC’s rigorous regulatory protocols bear distinct NAFDAC registration numbers as a testament to their quality and safety. She went on to underscore the agency’s inability to vouch for the safety of unbranded food items sold in the open market, expressing apprehension about their provenance and expiration dates. “We cannot vouch for the safety of unbranded food available in the open market. We are unaware of their origins and expiration dates. Tracing them back to their source is a challenge,” she remarked.
Casting a light on past actions taken against unbranded cereals, the official statement revealed that both in 2021 and 2022, NAFDAC undertook comprehensive investigations and enforcement operations that led to the apprehension of individuals engaged in the online sale of unbranded cereals, notably in Onitsha. Shockingly, some of these unbranded cereals were found to have been scavenged from dumpsites in Agbara, unmasking a complex web of complicity that extended beyond informal markets.
Prof. Adeyeye also shed light on the proper procedures for the disposal of defective or expired products. She stressed the importance of engaging NAFDAC’s Investigation and Enforcement Directorate for appropriate disposal, as opposed to relying solely on waste disposal authorities. The prevailing concern was that these discarded products often find their way back into the market through scavengers, perpetuating health hazards.
As NAFDAC steadfastly pursues its mission to ensure the safety and quality of food products within Nigeria, it earnestly implores the public to prioritize the consumption of certified and regulated products. The agency’s tireless efforts to regulate and control the presence of unbranded cereals in the market serve as a testament to its unwavering commitment to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of consumers across the nation. In a world fraught with uncertainties, NAFDAC stands firm as a bulwark against potential risks to public health, ensuring that the food on every’s table is not just sustenance, but a guarantee of safety.