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General News of Monday, 3 January 2022

Source: www.thisdaylive.com

Nigeria not dumping ground for EU banned chemicals, says NAFDAC

National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has denied reports that 40 per cent of the registered brands (not actives) of pesticide products used in the country were either banned or restricted for use by the European Union.

The agency stressed that it has a stringent requirement of ensuring that any pesticide to be imported into Nigeria was on the market in the country from where it was imported from and the current Free Sale Certificate authenticated by the Nigerian Embassy of that country.

In a statement issued by the agency’s Resident Media Consultant, Mr. Sayo Akintola on Sunday, January 2, quoted the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye as having made the comment at the opening ceremony of a two-day NAFDAC top management committee (TMC) meeting in Lagos at the weekend.

Adeyeye said NAFDAC was an ISO: 900: 2015 Quality Management System (QMS) certified organisation that had put in place procedures to enable the agency to take regulatory decisions to determine whether an active ingredient should be banned or restricted.

“NAFDAC (Nigeria) is a signatory to the international Convention that banned chemicals and pesticides such as the Rotterdam Convention, an international treaty designed to facilitate informed decision-making by countries with regard to trade in hazardous chemicals and Pesticides. Chemicals banned by international convention have been phased out and never entertained for registration or given import permits as raw materials for production,” she said.

As a sovereign state, Adeyeye noted that Nigeria has regulatory bodies empowered to regulate and control the production, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale, and use of such chemical products.

She pointed out that NAFDAC was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that chemical products produced in Nigeria and those being imported into the country meet the prerequisite in-country approval as well as international standards.

The NAFDAC boss also stated that in order to ensure that only active ingredients approved by NAFDAC were allowed into the country, NAFDAC Appointed Testing Agents (CRIA) and Laboratories to conduct tests and forward results to the Agency before any Pesticide is shipped from countries that are major exporters of Agrochemicals into Nigeria.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had named four toxicity classes of pesticides: Class I a: extremely hazardous; Class I b: highly hazardous; Class II: moderately hazardous; Class III: slightly hazardous and Class U: Unlikely to present acute hazard.

Furthermore, Adeyeye explained that the classifications were for guidance purposes to enable users to take necessary precautionary measures to ensure the safety of food, humans, animals, and the environment.

She, however, assured Nigerians that adequate quality control tests were carried out by the agency before granting certifications for all products that are either imported or manufactured within the country.

In addition, she disclosed that the field trial evaluation was conducted in collaboration with research institutes in Nigeria to determine the safety, quality and efficacy of new molecules as well as inspection of manufacturing facilities to establish that a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is in place to ensure that product manufactured meets the quality standard specification for the intended use.

“Other regulatory activities include but are not limited to the issuance of authority to clear, continual sensitisation and awareness exercises for relevant stakeholders on safe and responsible use of pesticides, Post-Marketing Surveillance to Mop-up fake/unregistered/expired products, and the Destruction of seized products,” she added.

According to her, the EU uses much lower Maximum Residual Limits (MRLs) than most other CODEX member countries, hence the EU raised observations for the codex secretariat and subsequently WTO to take note.

With this, she explained that products with active ingredients accepted by other codex member countries including Nigeria are not allowed into the EU.

Adeyeye, however, pointed out that lack of scientific data in Nigeria had been identified as a gap that explains why the country participants refrain from raising observations during codex meetings, therefore, have no choice but to go by the general Codex Alimentarius resolutions.

The DG therefore urged all relevant research institutions to generate enough data and make available such data for the Nigerian team that attends Codex Committee on Pesticides Residues (CCPR) to advance the country’s interest.

Adeyeye added that all the pesticides approved for use by NAFDAC are also in use in other parts of the world except Europe without any fuse, asking rhetorically why this campaign was not taken to the US, Latin America, or Asia where the products are also being used?

She enjoined investors to feel free and confident to invest in Agricultural production in Nigeria.

She assured Nigerians that no stone would be left unturned to ensure that food products available to Nigerians for consumption are safe and wholesome.

According to Adeyeye, the Agency in the last four years of her administration, NAFDAC has been repositioned to effectively regulate all agricultural inputs such as pesticides, and agrochemicals.

“All these groups of inputs are known to have an impact on the food chain. The quality and safety of the inputs have a direct impact on the food from the farms and the health of humans, animals, and plants.

“In line with the federal government agenda and investment in agriculture, the Agency wishes to encourage investors to consider investing in agricultural production so that creation of jobs and ability to feed ourselves as a nation without depending too much on foreign exchange can be achieved she said.

“It is noteworthy that a lot of regulatory activities have been carried out to ensure that all inputs regulated by NAFDAC required in the production of safe food are safe, efficacious and of the right quality,” She said.

Also in the last four years, Adeyeye said that the agency has reviewed its regulations, guidelines and strengthened collaboration with Ministries, departments and agencies and stakeholders to ensure effective regulations.

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