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NAFDAC burst production plants of fake wines, soft drinks in Abia

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has intercepted producers of a variety of counterfeit beverages in Eziukwu Market (Cemetery Market) in Aba, Abia State.

Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, the director general of NAFDAC
Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, the director general of NAFDAC

Abuja, Nigeria

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has intercepted producers of a variety of counterfeit beverages in Eziukwu Market (Cemetery Market) in Aba, Abia State.

NAFDAC said the products include wines, soft drinks and consumables in a press release on Monday.

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“Following an intelligent tip-off, NAFDAC carried out several weeks of intelligence gathering and collation of data on the activities of these merchants of death. In collaboration with other security agencies, NAFDAC carried out a sting operation in the market to burst the criminal operations taking place there. It is worthy of note that this dastard activity has been going on for a long time and they operate like a cartel threatening anyone who dares challenge them,” the statement reads.

“Some of the nefarious activities of the counterfeiters included the manufacturing of all kinds of adulterated products especially different kinds of wine from a wide variety of brands ranging from Seaman Schnapps, Henessy, Four Cousins, Carlo Rossi, Jenney, Chelsea London Dry Gin, Schnapp Dry Gin, McDowells, Black Labels, Gordons, Martell, Campari, Smirnoff ice, Eva Non-Alcoholic Drink, Evra Non-Alcoholic Drink, Cartel, and others. 

“There is also date revalidation for expired products like Peak milk, Powdered milk, Ketchups, Yoghurt, Coca-Cola products, and packaging of fake and substandard products, which are later sold to unsuspecting members of the public for consumption”.

NAFDAC said it raided over 240 shops- turned factories where the harmful products were being produced and marketed.

“The shops-turned-factories are very filthy, using water from very unhygienic sources, harmful chemicals, saccharin, colouring, dirty recycled bottles, and cloned packaging materials of other brands. The adulteration of alcoholic beverages by criminal elements in the country is done by mixing cheaper sources of sugar and starch besides grapes or fruit, among other harmful chemicals unsuitable for human consumption.

“Over 1500 cartons of fake and substandard products were destroyed during the operation while 300 hundred cartons were evacuated to the NAFDAC warehouse. The street value of the confiscated and destroyed fake products is estimated at over seven hundred and fifty million naira only. (N750,000,000). Ten people were arrested on arrival at the scene of the crime and will be charged in court after a thorough investigation.

“Due to the sheer magnitude of illegality going on in the section of the market, NAFDAC had to shut the entire market down for thorough regulatory activity until an agreement was reached with all stakeholders in the market and signed that the market would never be used for such nefarious activities anymore,” the agency added.

The agency further stated that drinking adulterated alcohol can cause nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, drowsiness, dizziness, blue-tinged or pale skin, irregular or slow breathing, low body temperature, unconsciousness or passing out or also lead to kidney and liver failure or even DEATH. Methanol, a substance which can be used in fake vodka, may cause permanent blindness. 

NAFDAC advised Nigerians to be vigilant during the festive season and asked consumers to scrutinize the “4 Ps”—Place, Price, Packaging, and Product – before purchasing alcohol

“Only buy only NAFDAC registered drinks from reputable and licenced retailers, bars and supermarkets.

“If the product is being sold well below its normal price, or doesn’t seem to include normal taxes on liquors, then it is probably fake. 

“Check for poor quality packaging, spelling mistakes and unusually shaped bottles. Look for the contact information and address of the manufacturer. If it is missing, the alcohol is fake.  Inspect the seal on the bottle. If the seal is broken or damaged, then the contents might have been interfered with and are not safe to drink. Check for fake bar codes. If you have an app on your mobile that scans bar codes, scan it and see if it’s listed as the correct product.

“Product: Beware of bad smells! If it smells like paint stripper or nail polish remover, then it probably is”, NAFDAC said.

Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, the director general of NAFDAC, reaffirmed the Agency’s commitment to eradicating counterfeit products nationwide and urged the public to report suspicious activities to the nearest NAFDAC office.

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