By: ABBA BASHIR; Maureen
The National Agency for food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC has raided and BURSTS over 240 shops- turned factories where harmful products were being produced and marketed in Eziukwu Market (Cemetery Market) Aba, Abia State.
The intercepted counterfeiters are involved in the production of variety of beverages including wines, soft drinks and consumables.
DG of NAFDAC, PROF MOJISOLA CHRISTIANAH ADEYEYE who revealed this to newsmen as part of the agency’s scorecard for 2023, explained that this Followed an intelligent tip off, carried out by NAFDAC several weeks ago.
She stated that Over 1500 cartons of the fake and substandard products were destroyed during the operation while 300 hundred cartons were evacuated to NAFDAC warehouse.
The DG said the street value of the confiscated and destroyed fake products is estimated at over seven hundred and fifty million naira only. (N750,000,000).
“In collaboration with other security agencies, NAFDAC carried out a sting operation in the market to burst the criminal operations taking place there. It is worthy of note that this dastard activity has been going on for a long time and they operate like a cartel threatening anyone who dares challenge them.
Some of the nefarious activities of the counterfeiters included the manufacturing of all kinds of adulterated products especially different kinds of wine from a wide variety of brands ranging from Seaman Schnapps, Henessy, Four Cousins, Carlo Rossi, Jenney, Chelsea London Dry Gin, Schnapp Dry Gin, McDowells, Black Labels, Gordons, Martell, Campari, Smirnoff ice, Eva Non-Alcoholic Drink, Evra Non-Alcoholic Drink, Cartel, and others”
Other adulteration discovered according to Prof Adeyeye were date revalidation for expired products like Peak milk, Powdered milk, Ketchups, Yoghurt, Coca Cola products, packaging of fake and substandard products, which are later sold to unsuspecting members of the public for consumption.
“”The shops-turned factories are very filthy, using water from very unhygienic sources, harmful chemicals, saccharin, colouring, dirty recycled bottles, and cloned packaging materials of other brands. The adulteration of alcoholic beverages by criminal elements in the country is done by mixing of cheaper sources of sugar and starch besides grapes or fruit, among other harmful chemicals unsuitable for human consumption. Ten people were arrested on arrival at the scene of the crime and will be charged to court after thorough investigation.
Due to the sheer magnitude of illegality going on in the section of the market, NAFDAC had to shut the entire market down for thorough regulatory activity until an agreement was reached with all stakeholders in the market and undertaken signed that the market will never be used for such nefarious activities anymore.
Drinking adulterated alcohol can cause nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, drowsiness, and dizziness, blue tinged or pale skin, irregular or slow breathing, low body temperature, unconsciousness or passing out. It can also lead to kidney and liver failure or even DEATH. Methanol, a substance which can be used in fake vodka, may cause permanent blindness.”
The DG urged members of the public to shine their eyes during this yuletide season by buying only NAFDAC registered drinks from reputable and licenced retailers, bars and supermarkets, as well as think about the “4 ps before buying Alchohol,”Price: If the product is being sold well below its normal price, or doesn’t seem to include normal taxes on liquors, then it is probably fake.
Packaging: Check for poor quality packaging, spelling mistakes and unusually shaped bottles. Look for the contact information and address of the manufacturer. If it is missing, the alcohol is fake. Inspect the seal on the bottle. If the seal is broken or damaged, then the contents might have been interfered with and are not safe to drink. Check for fake bar codes. If you have an app on your mobile that scans bar codes, scan it and see if it’s listed as the correct product.
Product: Beware of bad smells! If it smells like paint stripper or nail polish remover, then it probably is.”
While urging Nigerians to remain vigilant, the agency is also tasking consumers to always scrutinize branded drinks to distinguish them from counterfeits before consuming them.