NAFDAC seals industry over illegal revalidation of expiry date of fish products

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) has sealed Haano Industries Ltd., Lagos, over illegal revalidation of expiration date and distribution of unwholesome fish products.

The industry is located at No. 144, Oba Akran Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos.

Mr Francis Ononiwu, Deputy Director, Investigation and Enforcement Directorate of NAFDAC, Lagos, said that the agency had gone to the company for further investigations based on the information they had.

“Based on intelligence report we got on the date markings on the products, we came here.The information we had was that the company had unwholesome cartons of fishes of which they had a practice of revalidating expiration dates without approvals.

“We have taken the samples and what we will do now is to send them to the laboratory. It is the laboratory that will give us the exact conditions of the fish, whether it is wholesome or unwholesome; and when the result comes out, we will make it public,’’ he said.

Ononiwu explained that the Intelligence Gathering and Analysis Division of NAFDAC is responsible for collecting intelligence through difference sources.

He said that though the preliminary investigations so far showed that the intelligence was on course, they could however not confirm the exact conditions of the frozen fishes until the laboratory results were out.

“In spite of the fishes being frozen, from the physical assessment, there are characteristics that point to the fact that the state of the fishes before they got frozen was not okay. Physically, they are suspects.

“However, physical examination is not conclusive as the laboratory tests will be the final determinant; for now, we are sealing the warehouse pending when the result comes out.”

On the punitive measures to be taken if found guilty, Ononiwu said that sanctions would be carried out on the industry according to NAFDAC laws on erring companies of which NAFDAC operated with.

“There are many ways to sanction them, if found guilty. It is going to be very stiff because we do not play with what people take in or consume. So we are going to treat them hard if we find out that what they are selling to the public is not wholesome.

“NAFDAC is dedicated to its commitment to safeguarding public health by ensuring that only quality drugs, food and products are manufactured, imported and circulated in Nigeria,’’ Ononiwu said.

A source from the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) team, who was present at the premises of the industry, said that they had been keeping constant surveillance on the company based on information.

“Information got to us that the Haano Industry had a practice of revalidating expiration dates without due authorisation. We have been keeping observations and opening communication with our source until we came here yesterday, but they did not grant us access.

“We came very early this morning and we saw pieces of labels all over the warehouse; labels of products which are to expire in March 2016. We invited the Ministry of Health and they sent officers for inspection.

“There is a stench all over the warehouse which is a pointer to the fact that the company was keeping unwholesome fishes which they market to the public for consumption,’’ the RRS source said.

In his response, Mr Soji, a representative of Haano Industries Ltd. who is in the Human Resources Department, said that the company would not make any comments yet.

According to him, the company will wait for the State’s Ministry of Health and NAFDAC to conclude their investigations before they can respond.

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