The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has declared its decision to put up additional measures to eradicate the incidence of unbranded cereals and other food items of industrial sizes in open markets.
The agency disclosed this at the end-of-year stakeholders open dialogue and feedback session with food manufacturing companies.
The Resident Media Consultant to NAFDAC, Sayo Akintola, quoted the Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, as having said that going forward, the agency would be more critical with the process of issuing permits for importation of bulk food raw materials from 2024.
Adeyeye, represented by the Director of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN), Mrs. Eva Edwards, stated that the agency was concerned about 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 items, the Director noted, enter the country because companies have applied to use them in the manufacture of their NAFDAC registered products.
According to her, the agency was concerned that such items were being sold in measures, scoops in the open markets, and it was looking at the process of issuing permits for bulk food raw materials critically.
She further added that the agency had put in place additional measures for assessing and verifying the utilization 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 said.
While reminding the manufacturers that the agency knows the ingredients that are used in their products, she revealed 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.
Adeyeye, however, emphasized that if the companies can show records of utilization of the quantities requested in a previous cycle, the agency will consider the quantity requested and grant approval.
The NAFDAC boss said what NAFDAC don’t want to see is the diversion into the open market.
Her words: “We don’t want people measuring milk and cereals in cups and measuring in 2024. It is an unhygienic practice. It is not good for the general population in terms of food safety and hygiene.”
NAFDAC, she elaborated, would continue to advocate for the support of her partners and stakeholders in the quest for better, safer, healthier, more nutritious food, adding that all Nigerians stand to benefit from this.
In his own remarks, the Chairman of Technical Committee of the Association of Food, Beverage, and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), Mr Fred Chiazor, commended NAFDAC for being proactive in responding to developments in the industry.
“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,” he submitted.