Soft drinks probe: House panel accuses NAFDAC of compromise and failure to perform duty

The House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the production and distribution of soft drinks manufactured by the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) and other soft drinks producers in the country accused the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) of compromise and failing in its duties to live up to its responsibility.

At the resumption of the committee’s hearing on Thursday, the majority Leader of the Federal House of Representatives and chair of the committee, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila called on the agency to live up to its responsibilities in order not to increase the health risks posed to consumers of food and drinks by Nigerians.

The committee specifically questioned the rational NAFDAC based its decisions on before issuing a certificate of compliance to Pepsi and Seven-Up Bottling Company barely a month of being issued a query by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

Hon Gbajabiamila said that the case of Pepsi and 7Up “shows lack of collaboration amongst the regulatory agencies. Pepsi was issued query by SON in March and April respectively, meanwhile NAFDAC in turn ignored the query and issued Pepsi a certificate of compliance”.

He further expressed concern over the lack of interest by NAFDAC in carrying out its mandate, “NAFDAC issues certificate to industries for as long as five years and visitation to industries should be done twice a year but from the documents before me submitted by NAFDAC, visits is only once and it shows clearly that NAFDAC has failed in its responsibility.”

Commenting on the matter, Mr. Nkole Uko (PDP, Abia) called on NAFDAC to train its staff in order to comply with international best practices, saying “You still operate on a very analog scale. If you go back to the archives, you will find out that you don’t even consider population because population has an effect on whatever product we consume. You see, NAFDAC, you people are not doing whatever you are supposed to do”.

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