Food Rejection: NAFDAC Laments Non-compliance With Advisory Guidelines

The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye has lamented the non-compliance with advisory guidelines established by the agency to encourage participatory exports, as all the items exported without NAFDAC quality control and safety tests were rejected.

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Adeyeye, who disclosed this on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, at a press conference held in Abuja urged all Nigerian exporters trading in NAFDAC regulated products to obtain necessary certifications for processing their products.

She informed that the incidence of rejection of food exports from Nigeria in some European countries and the United States of America might soon become a thing of the past if collaboration between the agency and other government agencies at the ports was strengthened.

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The Director-General represented by the Director of Ports Inspection Directorate and Head of Office of Trade and International Relations, Dr. Abimbola Adegboye, engaged the UK Food Standard Agency (FSA) on the unabated incidences of rejection of Nigerian food products exported to the United Kingdom.

She also engaged them on non-notifications on such rejects and non-engagement of NAFDAC on the matter and the need for mutual recognition of electronic certification of both government agencies of export certification, among others.

She expressed worry over the non-utilisation of hitherto free laboratory testing by NAFDAC for export samples coupled with the connivance of unscrupulous agents, exclusion of NAFDAC’s requirements for its regulated products in the mandatory pre-shipment inspection in the National Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) as administered by the Federal appointed Pre-shipment Inspection Agents (PIAs).

The DG further said she was concerned about the unwillingness of exporters to comply with minimal sanitary and phytosanitary measures required for exports to countries with stringent market access, poor packaging, and disregard for importation requirements of trading partner countries.

She was also concerned about the penchant for sourcing from open markets for exports without any form of minimal safety or quality specifications, unwillingness to invest in pre-export activities that help to ensure sustainable export, and disinformation on the roles of NAFDAC in the pre-shipment inspection and verification exercise of container stuffing.

“To ratify all these and as an outcome of NAFDAC’s recent meeting with FSA, the agency is commencing on six regulatory-measure approaches to address the situation which includes Immediate inclusion and implementation, as a matter of urgency, of NAFDAC Good Manufacturing Practices, GMP, Good Hygienic Practices, GHP, and Laboratory testings (eg. mycotoxin, pesticide residue, and heavy metals), certification for the regulated products – food, drug, and others by the National Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) as administered by the FGN appointed pre-shipment Inspection Agents”, she said.

In addition, the DG stated that this was another step in addition to other steps already taken toward changing the status and narrative of Nigerian food products in the international market, adding that the steps already taken include: bringing into focus the export oversight functions of the agency by the establishment of office of Trade & International Relations in her office about two years ago, engagement with other trade Chief Executives of trade facilitation-related MDAs at round-table conferences in respect of streamlining Nigerian export among others.

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