NAFDAC bans drinks with over 30% alcohol content

…bars alcoholic drinks in sachets, PET bottles

The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), on Monday, banned the registration of new alcoholic drinks in sachet and small volume PET and glass bottles above 30 per cent alcohol by volume.

This followed the recommendation of a high-powered committee of the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and Industry in December 2018.

Other members of the committee are the Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers, and the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria.

The agency said it would make use of the policemen posted to it by the Inspector-General of Police to enforce the ban on the sale of substandard alcoholic products in sachets and PET bottles.

The agency added that it would hand over the producers of such products to its enforcement department for prosecution.

The Director of Public Relations of the agency, Abubakar Jimoh, disclosed this in an interview on Monday in Abuja.

The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, had in a statement on Monday stated that the agency would no longer register alcohol in sachets, small volume PET and glass bottles below 200 millilitres.

According to the NAFDAC boss, the agency will ensure that the validity of renewal of already-registered alcoholic products in the affected category does not exceed the year 2024.

She explained that manufacturers of low volume alcohol beverages (200ml) with satisfactory laboratory reports already submitted to NAFDAC for registration before the decision had been directed to reformulate their products to stipulated standards free of charge.

“The Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria was also given a matching order to embark on intensive nationwide sensitisation campaigns against underage consumption of alcohol by adolescents below the age of 18 years in the bid to stem the tide of alcohol abuse in the country,” Adeyeye stated.

Jimoh explained to our correspondent that the agency had three steps in dealing with substandard products.

He said, “We are a regulatory agency. We have a department charged with that. The Food and Applied Nutrition Directorate is an arm of NAFDAC. The first step before we start to clamp down is to go round to ensure that decision-making processes are complied with and that the specific volume of alcohol in the sachets and bottles is met.

“Second, we ensure that some other decisions are also taken. We have told the association of distillers and blenders to begin to educate Nigerians so that nobody under 18 is allowed to buy alcohol.

“The final step is that anybody that does not comply with all the rules will be handed over to our own police arm for prosecution. We hand over irredeemable cases to the enforcement directorate.

“We have police personnel, who the IG gave us whenever we are going for arrests. So, if they refuse to follow the protocols, starting from the volume of alcohol and other things, they will be arrested by our own NAFDAC police.”

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