December 19, 2023.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has said it has arrested 10 suspects and seized beverages including wines, soft drinks and consumables worth over N750 million in a raid on Eziukwu Market (Cemetery Market) Aba, Abia State.
According to a statement signed by the Director General of NAFDAC, over 1500 cartons of the fake and substandard products were destroyed during the operation while 300 hundred cartons were evacuated to the agency’s warehouse during the raid which followed several weeks of intelligence gathering and collation of data on the activities of this ‘merchants of death’.
She said the operation was carried out in collaboration with other security agencies 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. There is also 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.
“Because of the extensive operation, the agency raided over 240 shops- turned factories where the harmful products were being produced and marketed.
“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.
“Over 1500 cartons of the fake and substandard products were destroyed during the operation while 300 hundred cartons were evacuated to NAFDAC warehouse. The street value of the confiscated and destroyed fake products is estimated at over seven hundred and fifty million naira only. (N750,000,000). 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. WHO in their Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health estimated that more than three million people died all over the world as a result of alcohol poisoning.
“Furthermore, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) ascertained that one of every 10 cancer cases in Nigeria can be traced to Alcohol and 4.7 percent of overall cancer cases in Nigeria in 2019 can be attributed to consumption of adulterated alcohol.
“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. NAFDAC wishes to advice that the members of the public should shine their eyes during this yuletide season and think about the “4 Ps” before buying of alcohol:
“Place: Only buy only NAFDAC registered drinks from reputable and licenced retailers, bars and supermarkets.
“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!
“NAFDAC will continue to ensure that the level of counterfeit products nationwide is brought to the nearest minimum so that our people will continue to consume only healthy and safe products. We wish to reiterate that in line with our mandate to rid the county of fake and substandard products, we shall be on the trail of these evil counterfeiters, and bring them to book,” she said.(www.naija247news.com).