The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC has charged water production factories to comply with health standards requirements or risk shutdown.
NAFDAC at weekend vowed to shut down packaged water production facilities that “fail the Good Manufacturing Practice requirements”, by engaging in sharp practices.
Pledging to collaborate with the various associations in efforts to regulate the packaged water sector of the economy, the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, during a virtual stakeholders’ meeting with packaged water producers in Nigeria, emphasised on the need to sanitize the industry.
Adeyeye appealed the packaged water producers that participated in the interactive forum to always ensure that the level of compliance with NAFDAC regulatory requirements for which their products were registered are maintained at all times.
She insists that packaged water must meet requirements of NAFDAC regulations and provisions of the Nigerian Industrial standards for packaged water, warning that the Agency would intensify its routine monitoring to ensure consistent compliance on GMP and other requirements; and apply appropriate sanctions on defaulters and violators.
Adeyeye therefore, appealed to the producers to produce safe water for public consumption, urging them to belong to the group of life savers. Also, she said that the agency is ever ready for collaboration with the various associations with a view to sanitizing the industry.
Adeyeye expressed dismay at the unwholesome attitude of some of the water producers in lowering standards, saying that shortly after obtaining registration approval, many of the over 16,000 registered producers of packaged water across Nigeria often tamper standards and produce the essential commodity under compromised conditions, putting the health of the consuming public at risk.
Speaking with the about 412 stakeholders at the virtual meeting, the Director-General declared: ‘’Today we are gathered on this platform as producers of packaged water and we all know that the situation in Nigeria today is such that the entire Nigerian populace (including the healthy, elderly, pregnant women, children and the weak with low immunity) depend on packaged water for sustenance, as many believe falsely or rightly that the municipal water, where available, may hardly be safe for drinking’’.
Adeyeye described water as a unique product because it has no alternative, adding that everybody needs water or at least water based product for hydration, proper digestion of food, drugs and other human needs to sustain life. ‘’Water is life’’.
A statement by the media Consultant to NAFDAC, Sayo Akintola, said the NAFDAC boss however maintains that water can only sustain life when it is available for drinking in the safe and potable form otherwise, it could cause health complications and even lead to death.
She said: ‘’You are in the noble business of providing Nigerians with safe drinking water; but if you engage in activities that fall short of standards and regulatory requirements, you may be responsible for illness and even death of innocent Nigerians’’.
According to her, WHO stipulates that access to safe drinking water is important as a health and development issue at a national, regional, and local level.
Adeyeye pointed out that packaged water production is a business that requires high sense of responsibility hence nonchalant attitude should be eliminated by our collective efforts.
She noted: ‘’your associations have the structure to reach and locate both legal and illegal producers of packaged water across the country, which could help regulators in weeding out those giving operators in the sector a bad name’’.
The NAFDAC DG maintains that officials of the associations cannot function in place of NAFDAC officials to carryout routine inspections, stressing that the Agency welcomes collaboration that will lead to tracking and identifying defaulting practitioners in the industry.
‘’Let me remind you that operating with expired license, producing without approval, relocation of factory site without approval, leasing of registered premises without approval, unauthorized contract manufacturing, distribution of expired or products without date markings, submission of fake documents and poor GMP all attract very severe sanctions’’, she cautions.
She urged them to address the issue of coding with batch numbers, production, and expiry dates while all water producers are expected to work out a workable system that will all for product coding.
Adeyeye who disclosed that the Agency will henceforth conduct trainings for the stakeholders four times a year, further warned that evidence of participation in at least one training will be among the pre-requisites for renewal of product license renewal of product registration.
Both national presidents of the Association of Table Water Producers (ATWAP) Mrs. Tina Ativie and Water Producers Association of Nigeria (WAPAN) Mr. Egberi Odiri Mackson commended NAFDAC for the initiative.
NAFDAC was established by the NAFDAC Act CAP N1 of LFN to regulate and control the importation, exportation, manufacture, distribution, advertisement and use of Food, Drugs, Cosmetics, Medical Devises, Detergents, Chemicals and Packaged water.
The Agency was established by the Federal Government with the mandate to safeguard public health through the regulation and control of the above Products, which impact on human health.