The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has apprehended merchants of dangerous chemicals used in adulterated flavoured drinks that led to loss of three lives in Kano State.
The agency stated that internal investigation revealed that only two of the five flavoured drinks identified in the incident were registered by NAFDAC, while three were not on the agency’s database.
It added that the said chemical did not pass through NAFDAC, as there were no records at the Chemical Evaluation and Research Directorate to suggest that permission was given to anyone to import the chemical into the country.
It added that internal checks at the Ports Inspection Directorate revealed that the chemical was not imported through the ports.
It, therefore, warned Nigerians against adding chemicals and additives to food and drinks to enhance taste, stressing that such practices could result in severe illness and even death.
NAFDAC Director-General Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who made these known in a statement signed by the agency’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, yesterday, noted that a preliminary result of the agency’s investigation was submitted to the Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, during her two-day visit to the state on an on-the-spot assessment of the incident.
Prof. Adeyeye noted with regret that three fatalities were recorded with many people having their health compromised. She stressed that it’s heart-warming to note that all the merchants of the deadly chemicals and additives have been apprehended while further investigation continues.
Noting that food contamination and poisoning could occur through consuming expired food, the NAFDAC boss added that food poisoning could also occur by preparing food with poorly sourced water and putting cooked food on the shelf for several days or months, or in the refrigerator for too long among others.
“We are very particular about food additives, about the temperature at which a food can be kept, or about the expiration date of food. If all of these are violated, then there could be food poisoning.”
Prof. Adeyeye said NAFDAC would be working with Kano State Task force under the Federal Task Force on Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods, which is domiciled in NAFDAC, and the Nigeria Consumers Protection Agency in Kano, to prevent the recurrence of the March 11 incident.
She said samples of the chemicals and additives that were added while preparing the flavoured drinks for consumption were collected and taken to NAFDAC’s laboratory in Kaduna for testing. She said further testing was conducted at the agency’s central laboratory in Lagos for confirmation.