Following the Federal Government ban of imported fruit juice into the country, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, NAFDAC, has begun mop-up of all imported fruit juices nationwide.
Addressing journalists shortly after the raid which took place in various marketsin Lagos by the enforcement team of NAFDAC, Deputy Director, Investigation & Enforcement Directorate, Mr.Francis Ononiwu decried the influx of imported fruit juices in the country, blaming it on the absence of the Agency’s staff at the ports.
According to him, the Federal Government as a matter of urgency should reconsider bringing NAFDAC back to the ports in order to drastically reduce fake, counterfeit and imported banned products into the country.
“We are all aware that most of these products come through the sea ports and NAFDAC is not on ground there, definitely, we cannot effectively stop the products from entering.
That is a major challenge. If we are there the quantity will be much more reduced or eliminated. Federal government should reconsider taking NAFDAC back to the ports”
Ononiwu explained that the mop –up exercise is ongoing nationwide, not only to meet the deadline for the exercise but also to create an enabling environment for local manufacturers of fruit juices in the country.
“These imported products are not registered by NAFDAC; they are unwholesome and fake and have been banned by the Federal Government.
We don’t expect to see imported fruit juices in our markets today because we have enough fruit juice manufactured and produced here.
We are also trying to protect our local industry as well as encouraged them to utilise our farm produces thereby boosting our economy.”
Warning consumers against such products, he said since they were not produced under supervised Good Manufacturing Practice, they are harmful to the health of consumers.
Ononiwu hinted that those arrested would be punished in line with the appropriate sanctions stipulated in the Agency’s regulations.
Speaking during the exercise at Gbagada area of Lagos, Team Leader also from the Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, Mr.Carolly Ngobiri, said the exercise was in line with a circular of Dec. 19 from the Directorate, directing that an urgent visit to all markets and supermarkets in all states, be embarked upon, to mop-up these items.
“We are here to carry out one of NAFDAC’s mandate; to make sure that that all foreign juices are removed from the market.
We have given them a deadline from now to Dec. 31 to stop their sales and remove them from the shelves.
“But in order to ensure that these are totally removed, we have started mopping up all the juices all over the country. “By Dec. 31, we do not want to see any imported juice in Nigeria.
“At these places that we have gone to carry out our assignment, we have taken the items, documented them and invited the owners to come to our office for further interrogation.”
The NAFDAC official advised all consumers to check all the date markings of which include the production and expiry dates, as well as NAFDAC registration number of each of the products, before purchase.