Food and drugs administration agency, NAFDAC, rises to its responsibility as it seals off a confectionary company for producing with expired ingredients
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has sealed the elite confectionaries and multinational food outlet, Chocolate Royale, for various unethical practices and non-adherence to Good Manufacturing and Hygienic Practices. The action is sequel to a tipoff and intelligence report which indicted the company of illegal importation, storage and use of expired ingredients and food products for preparing of food and confectionaries served to unsuspecting customers at the Chocolate Royale as well as operating and maintaining illegal Cold-Rooms at their Managing Director’s resident where large quantities of various expired and spoilt food ingredients worth Millions Naira were uncovered. NAFDAC’s action was announced yesterday in a press statement by its Public Relations (Enforcement Operations), Mr. Anselem Okonkwor.
According to him, the action became necessary following avalanche of complaints of violation and affront of the company to the regulatory body’s regulations. To this end, the Agency has sealed both the Chocolate Royale facilities at Plot 267A Etim Inyang Cresent and the Managing Director’s residence on No 1, Karimu Kotun Street, all in Victoria Island, Lagos. “Some top officials of the company were equally arrested for interrogation for willfully obstructing the NAFDAC operatives in the course of their duties during the exercises while others had gone into hidden to avoid been apprehended”, Okonkwor said in the statement.
The offending products, which is worth over N1billion, had been reportedly evacuated from both premises in six vans. Speaking after the operation that lasted for about nine hours, the Director, Investigation and Enforcement of the agency, Mr. Kingsley Ejiofor, said that six persons were arrested in connection with the incident adding that they were held for intentionally obstructing NAFDAC officials while on official duties. “The suspect will be interroagated, while the products will be sampled and taken to the Laboratory for analysis, where the labels and contents will be properly analyzed. And at the end of the day when the results are out, that will determine the next of action”. Ejiofor said.
The NAFDAC’s director who also doubles as the Chairman of Federal Taskforce on Fake and Counterfeit Drugs, Unwholesome Processed Foods and other regulated products, commended his officers and the entire team for the successful operation despite the antics and intimidations from the staff of the offending company adding that the food and confectionery outlet will remain closed to allow for proper investigation. “They will be investigated by the Federal Taskforce and NAFDAC. At the end of the investigations, files submitted will be reviewed and after evaluation, we will send them to the legal division which will advice on what next to do and if we have enough facts, then will proceed on prosecution,” he added. Meanwhile, NAFDAC’s Director-General, Dr. Paul Orhii after inspecting the seized products evacuated to the Agency’s Enforcement office at Apapa frowned at the development and assured Nigerians that the matter would be thoroughly investigated to ascertain the level of violations to aid prosecution. He revealed that apart from the products being expired, they were not registered by NAFDAC therefore should not have come into the country in the first place.
Consequently, he directed that in the course of the investigation, those handling the matter should request the company to furnish them with their clearing documents to ascertain if the offending products were legally cleared at the point of entry. The NAFDAC boss further reiterated Ejiofor’s position that Chocolate Royale facilities at the headquarters will remain sealed and closed to the public until all the issues are fully investigated and resolved. Orhii commended Nigerians for their support for NAFDAC and urged them to help to volunteer information that will assist to unravel the activities of those he described as the ‘’merchants of death’’ just as he revealed that there is a reward system in place for those who could furnish the Agency with useful information that will aid it to uncover more hideout of violations of NAFDAC’s regulations.