The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has advised Nigerians to be very careful during this festive season and think about the “4Ps” before buying any drink, whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
The 4Ps refer to Place, Price, Packaging, and Product. NAFDAC recommends consumers be vigilant about where they buy, the price, the products, and how the drinks are packaged.
This warning follows a recent operation in Eziukwu Market (Cemetery Market) in Aba, where NAFDAC and other security agencies raided over 240 shops that were turned into factories producing and selling fake and harmful products. About 1500 cartons of fake goods were destroyed during this operation, and 300 cartons were taken to the NAFDAC warehouse.
Counterfeiters were found producing a wide variety of adulterated products, mimicking popular brands like Seaman Schnapps, Hennessy, and others. They also tampered with expired products like milk, ketchup, yogurt, and Coca-Cola items.
These fake and substandard products were packaged and sold to unsuspecting consumers. NAFDAC discovered that these makeshift factories were extremely unclean, using water from unhygienic sources, harmful chemicals, saccharin, coloring, dirty recycled bottles, and cloned packaging materials from other brands.
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, explained that these adulterated alcoholic beverages were made by mixing cheaper sources of sugar and starch with harmful chemicals not suitable for human consumption, besides grapes or fruit.
Consumers are urged to report any suspicious activities related to the illegal production of adulterated products to the nearest NAFDAC office. Additionally, it’s highlighted that alcohol poisoning causes more than three million deaths globally, while alcohol consumption was attributed to 4.7% of overall cancer cases in Nigeria in 2019.
NAFDAC advises consumers to carefully check branded drinks before consumption, looking for NAFDAC registration, proper pricing, quality packaging without mistakes, intact seals, correct barcodes, and no unusual smells indicating fakeness.
Drinking adulterated drinks can lead to various health issues like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and in severe cases, kidney and liver failure, or even death. Methanol, found in fake vodka, can cause permanent blindness.
It’s crucial for consumers to remain vigilant and take these precautions seriously to avoid the serious health risks associated with consuming counterfeit beverages.