Festive periods are known for different activities as people rally round to meet their targets before the year ebbs out. While some pursue these goals legitimately, others are bent on having a merry Christmas by hook or by crook, not minding the aftermath of their actions.
Statements from victims in the past have shown that the sharp practices range from sales of uncompleted goods at standard price, substandard products, snatching of purses in the market places, adulteration of products, etc.
However, the closure of the Nigerian borders by the Nigerian Custom Service since 28 August 2019, has included rice to the list of manipulated products by unscrupulous traders, who now repack expired rice for sale to the unsuspecting consumers.
With the over 29 percent increase in the price of rice as shown by market survey from July till November, these dishonest business men have introduced new dimensions of selling repackaging local rice in foreign bags and also re-bagging expired rice for sale.
Alerting the public on this development, the Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Prof. Moji Adeyeye, stressed the health implications of consuming such expired products.
She said it is instructive to note that expired and caked rice are unwholesome as they contain moulds and microorganisms that cause diseases which are of immense public health concern.
The NAFDAC DG who narrated the encounter of some officials of the agency with miscreants during their inspection in Ogun State, spoke through a press statement mailed to Pharmanewsonline:”The Ogun State office of NAFDAC received a report from the Department of State Services (DSS) in the state, of ongoing food fraud at Oke-Aje market in Ijebu Ode.
“On the 14th of November 2019, officers of the State office in company of men of the Nigeria Police Force proceeded to the scene of the illegal activity. On arrival the suspected perpetrators of the food fraud instigated unnamed persons to unleash mayhem on the team of investigators.
“However, Enforcement Officers of the agency and its Federal Task Force team stormed the market in company of Department of State Services officials. They sighted miscreants at the market who took to their heels. Bags of expired rice, caked rice, bags of local rice, bags of popular foreign rice and sealing machines were found in the shops when the NAFDAC Enforcement team finally gained access into the shops. Thereafter, three shops were sealed during the operation”.
She therefore urged the general public to be vigilant and exercise discretion when purchasing rice and other food items, saying NAFDAC is fully alive to her responsibilities of assuring the safety, wholesomeness and quality of foods and other regulated products offered for sale to the public.
Adeyeye further tasked members of the public on reporting cases of re-bagging and sale of caked and expired rice or other food items to the nearest NAFDAC office across the federation.