Guiding against imported adulterated food: A war that must be won

 

Guiding against imported adulterated food: A war that must be won

By Sina Oduko

In recent times, fake and adulterated foods have been ‘legitimately’ imported into Nigeria. They abound everywhere, in all edibles; from rice to cereals, fruits and nuts. The fact is currently trending all over the social media platforms.

These foods are normally imported from China, Vietnam, India, B axis.

They include rice from China, eggs and cabbage that are really cheap plastic, corned beef (contaminated with horse meat and in some cases, human flesh have been alleged). BBC, the UK media did documentary on how cardboard that were collected from the roadsides were finely crushed, with flavor and colorants were beautifully repackaged and sold into Nigeria as snacks and other confectionery – biscuits etc.

 

Nigeria has a rather efficient food and drugs regulatory body, the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC). The problem however is with the importers that do find it easy to bypass the regulators. The reason for this is not far fetched: All food imports into Nigeria can only be done by the big time importers. The local consumer is therefore at the mercy of ruthless importers who are particular about maximizing profit, hence opting for sub-standard products.

The social media platforms are giving free and cheap publicity opportunities. It is up to authorities saddled with the regulatory responsibility of food and drugs to prove its mettle by impounding the fake and sub-standard edibles. It also behoves on the federal government to create awareness on the danger of consuming any imported food without proper investigation.

Making rice a test case. There abound several locally grown varieties that may even be cheaper in the Nigeria context.  Alabere, Ofada, Aba rice,  Tapa white rice, Ibefun Agric. These are good potentials for improving the lots of our local farmers and hence the local economies.

Lagos State Government said it is committing billions of Naira towards local farming. Ogun State has gone further by actually having road shows on intensive (mechanized) farming. The problem however is clear information on “what and how” to go about it. There is the need to avail our local farmers on best practice methods towards ensuring optimum and commercial yields. This is the duty of various Agricultural extension agencies.

 

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