NAFDAC to shutdown sachet water factories over substandard production

The Nigerian National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has expressed concern over the production of substandard packaged water and vowed to shut down packaged water production facilities that fail the Good Manufacturing Practice requirements as it pledges to collaborate with the various associations in efforts to sanitize the packaged water sector of the economy.

According to a statement signed by the Agency’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, on Sunday February 21, 2021, the Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, made the assertion, on Friday, in Abuja at a virtual stakeholders’ meeting with packaged water producers in Nigeria on the need to sanitize the industry.

According to Adeyeye, “shortly after procuring registration approval, many of the over 16,000 registered producers of packaged water across Nigeria more often than not, lower standards and produce the essential commodity under despicable conditions, putting the health of the Nigerian consuming public at risk

“Today we are gathered on this platform as producers of packaged water and we all know that the situation in Nigeria today is such that the entire Nigerian populace (including the healthy, elderly, pregnant women, children and the weak with low immunity) depend on packaged water for sustenance, as many believe falsely or rightly that the municipal water, where available, may hardly be safe for drinking.”

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Describing water as a unique product, Adeyeye said everybody needs water or at least a water-based product for hydration, proper digestion of food, drugs and other human needs to sustain life.

‘’Water is life,” she noted.

The NAFDAC boss, however, posits that water can only sustain life when it is available for drinking in a safe and potable form otherwise, it could cause health complications and even lead to death.

‘’You are in the noble business of providing Nigerians with safe drinking water; but if you engage in activities that fall short of standards and regulatory requirements, you may be responsible for illness and even death of innocent Nigerians,” she warned

Adeyeye appealed to the conscience of the producers to produce safe water for public consumption, urging them to join the group of lifesavers. She added that the agency is ever ready for collaboration with the various associations with a view to sanitising the industry.

She insists that packaged water must meet requirements of NAFDAC regulations and provisions of the Nigerian Industrial Standards for Packaged water, noting that the Agency would intensify its routine monitoring to ensure consistent compliance on GMP and other requirements; and apply appropriate sanctions on defaulters and violators.

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Adeyeye pointed out that packaged water production is a business that requires a high sense of responsibility hence nonchalant attitude should be eliminated by our collective efforts.

She noted that associations have the structure to reach and locate both legal and illegal producers of packaged water across the country, which could help regulators in weeding out those giving operators in the sector a bad name.”

Adeyeye also maintains that officials of the associations cannot function in place of NAFDAC officials to carry out routine inspections, noting that the Agency is, however, positively disposed to collaboration that will lead to tracking and identifying defaulting practitioners in the industry.

‘’Let me remind you that operating with an expired license, producing without approval, relocation of factory site without approval, leasing of registered premises without approval, unauthorised contract manufacturing, distribution of expired or products without date markings, submission of fake documents and poor GMP all attract very severe sanctions,” she warns.

She, however, urged them to address the issue of coding with batch numbers, production, and expiry dates while all water producers are expected to work out a workable system that will all for product coding.

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Adeyeye further disclosed that the Agency will henceforth conduct training for the stakeholders four times a year, further warned that evidence of participation in at least one training will be among the pre-requisites for renewal of product license renewal of product registration.

On their part, the National presidents of the Association of Table Water Producers (ATWAP) Mrs Tina Ativie and Water Producers Association of Nigeria (WAPAN) Mr Egberi Odiri Mackson commended NAFDAC for the initiative.

They explained the various steps their respective associations have taken in areas of enlightenment, education, and self-monitoring of their members.

Both presidents, however, expressed the desire of their associations to cooperate and collaborate with NAFDAC to ensure sanity in the packaged water sector.

Last week, Nigeria recorded 100 new Covid-19 deaths which is the highest since the beginning of the second wave, Tribune Online analysis reveals.

The data also showed that the tally of 100 deaths last week shows there is a sharp increase when compared to the 69 deaths recorded in the previous week…NAFDAC expresses concern over production of substandard sachet water.

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