By Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has sealed one of the largest supermarkets in the Karu area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Fort Mart Supermarket, for the production of fake bread and sales of harmful salt.
The supermarket was found to be operating an unregistered bread factory within its premises and was also found to be selling industrial salt which is injurious to human health.
The manager of the supermarket was also arrested by a team of security men attached to the NAFDAC officials.
While sealing the supermarket at the weekend, the FCT Coordinator of NAFDAC, Mrs. Clementina Anyakora, disclosed that the unholy practices perpetrated by the operators of the supermarket were detected during a routine inspection by a team of inspectors from the agency.
She revealed that the agency earlier sealed the supermarket premises but regretted that the operators forcefully reopen it and continue the production of the bread, Fort Mart Loaf, which, according to her, did not go through process of registration and licensing by NAFDAC.
“We came on our routine inspection and discovered they have unregistered product. We invited them to the office and they did not come. We repeated a visit early January and saw them still baking and reported to the office and they gave us the directive to place the bakery on hold which we did. But they removed the hold label and continue to bake and to sell fake bread.
“Two times we placed our on hold label but they ignored and continued baking and selling unregistered product.
“To NAFDAC we don’t know what this bread contains and we want to be sure that there are no harmful substances in the product,” Anyakora further said.
She explained: “Also during our last visit we found out that they have this big bag of industrial salt which they sell and also use in making popcorn which is not supposed to be sold here. The industrial salt is only meant for industrial use because of the ionisation.
“Yes this is a serious offence punishable by law and there are several sanctions we give to people that violate the NAFDAC Act. We start first with warning-we give warning and then also we have what is called administrative charge. In this there are certain fee you pay for violation.
“But wherein you refused to comply with all of the above we seal up the place as we are doing today. We are putting the bakery on hold and sealing the entire supermarket(closing down the supermarket) until further notice when they must have complied with the requirement of the law because what we are doing is in line with the law. We are closing the shop because the bakery belong to the management of the supermarket. And since they have been recalcitrant they have refused to come forward and do the right thing we want to shot the whole place”
Anyakora warned bakers engaging in such act to eschew from doing so. According to her the process of registration of bread is less than one month and one would register products with NAFDAC and continue their normal business without molestation.
Also speaking, the FCT NAFDAC Regulatory Officer, Deputy Director Olubukola Olawale, warned all dealers of food and drug items to avoid any act that would incur the wrath of NAFDAC and adhere strictly to the code of conduct because one could register and still be sanctioned if found wanting during the agency’s routine inspection.
According to her “after the registration the agency is always on routine inspection to check for good manufacturing practice, good hygienic practice and good storage practice and if these qualities are not met then come sanction.”