Artificial ripening: NAFDAC to commence nationwide check




The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it will commence immediate nationwide monitoring of fruit markets to check activities of some traders involved in artificial ripening of fruits.

The Director General of NAFDAC, Professor Moji Adeyeye, said this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

Adeyeye stated that the agency decided to take the measure because it had become common practice among some desperate traders and farmers to hasten the process of fruit ripening using hazardous chemicals like calcium carbide.

She noted that “NAFDAC has noticed the dangerous practice of sale and consumption of fruits artificially ripened with calcium carbide. As part of our mandate, NAFDAC is on high alert to respond to any practice or process that will jeopardise the health of the population. Fruits provide the body with micro-nutrients that improve immunity and prevent diseases among other benefits. Fruit ripening is a unique aspect of plant development, which makes the fruit edible, softer, sweeter, more palatable, nutritious and attractive. However, the consumption of fruits such as mango, banana, plantain, guava, orange, grape, etc or any other fruits ripened with calcium carbide is dangerous to health.”

According to her, the effect of artificial ripening on fruit quality, including properties such as colour, taste and feel are lost considerably and does not give the natural aroma and flavour to the fruits.

The NAFDAC boss stated that these fruits, although possess uniform colour, were less juicy than when ripened naturally and comparatively shorter shelf life.

Adeyeye added that artificially ripened fruits may be ripe on the skin but unripe inside.

She noted that calcium carbide, when sprayed with water, react chemically to produce acetylene, which act like ethylene and ripen fruits by a similar process.

She stated that calcium carbide generally contain impurities such as arsenic, lead particles and phosphorus, which pose a number of serious health hazards.

She added that “these impurities may cause serious health problems when consumed. The consumption of such fruits containing these impurities may cause cancer, heart, kidney and liver failure.”

Adeyeye, therefore, warned farmers, traders and the public that ripening fruits with calcium carbide was dangerous to health and a criminal offence, and perpetrators would be prosecuted.

NAFDAC pledges commitment to step up regulatory mandate



The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it would step up its regulatory mandates to curtail unwholesome drug distribution in the country.
Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of NAFDAC, disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja when she paid a courtesy visit on the
Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Mr Elijah Mohammed.
Adeyeye who decried the rate of abuse of cough syrups containing codeine and other substances stated that challenges in the process of recent efforts at recalling the syrups from manufacturers in the country was hectic.
NAFDAC is saddled with the responsibilities of regulating and controlling the importation, exportation, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, packaged water and chemicals.
She described the commitment of the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC and PCN toward implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines as key in curbing the menace of unwholesome drug distribution in the country.
According to her, the distribution guidelines will further go a long way to safeguard the health of the populace.
“The process of recalling codeine by the regulatory agencies as mandated by the Minister of Health was very tedious because NAFDAC in the past has not carried out its regulatory mandate effectively. NAFDAC has not done much in terms of regulation of drug distribution because we have left a vacuum in the past which we should not have. I assure that it will not happen again. NAFDAC has step up in terms of drug distribution inspection for the sake of the populace,” Adeyeye said.
The director-general said that the visit was aimed at fostering relationship with the PCN in order to address areas of overlap as well as ensure efficacy, efficient and safety of drugs distribution.
Adeyeye expressed the agency’s commitment to further collaborate with the council and other sister organisations to address issues of overlapping of functions for the good of consumers.
Earlier, Mohammed had requested the participation of NAFDAC officials at the council’s national workshop for inspectors to offer opportunity to share experiences in the training process, add value as well as gain experience from other inspectors.
According to him, this will further go a long way in ensuring better collaboration between them and bridge the gap in regulatory activities and address overlapping issues.
Mohammed noted that such efforts would ensure the actualisation of their mandates.
“PCN ensures effective regulations of Pharmaceutical premises, personnel and practice, NAFDAC on the other hand, ensures that qualitative, effective and safe medicines are available to the populace,”Mohammed said

NAFDAC to hold forum on Mobile Authentication Service

The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it will hold an urgent stakeholders forum to present the Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) Guidelines to the public in line with a directive from the House of Representatives.

The Director-General of NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, made this known in a statement.

Adeyeye disclosed that the forum will be held this month in conjunction with Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI).

“I am pleased to note the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives’ concern about Substandard and Falsified medicines (SF), has urge to use Mobile Authentication Scheme (MAS) to detect counterfeit medicines.

“The MAS was deployed by NAFDAC in 2010 as an anti-counterfeiting tool to curb the menace of substandard and falsified medical products.

“The medicines identified for implementation and enforcement in the first stage of the MAS scheme are antimalarials and antibacterials,” she said.

The NAFDAC boss stated that these classes of medicines were selected as a result of high incidence of counterfeiting and the adverse impact on public health.

She added that the scheme was not fully implemented by all relevant stakeholders despite several enforcement deadlines issued by NAFDAC for compliance.

Earlier, the House of Representatives directed the NAFDAC to enforce the MAS on all drugs in the country.

The House also mandated its Committee on Health Care Services to liaise with the agency to ensure public enlightenment and total compliance to the service.

MAS allows customers to identify the genuineness of products, especially drugs, by scratching a thin coating of a unique 12-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN), which is then sent via SMS to 38353 code for a quick feedback within seconds.

The resolution followed a motion on the rising cases of fake drugs in the country by Babajimi Benson.

Benson, in a lead debate, decried the growing incidences of drug adulteration and counterfeiting, which he said had taken an alarming dimension due to non-compliance to MAS.

“The World Health Organisation said 17 per cent of all drugs in Nigeria are fake, which undermine all aspects of medical treatment and healthcare delivery which were major causes of suffering and deaths,” Benson said.