The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has restated its statutory responsibility of safeguarding public health.
Speaking at an interactive meeting with stakeholders aimed at straightening channels of communication as well as ensuring right quality of drugs, foods, feeds, the Director General, NAFDAC, Prof. Christianah Adeyeye, said the agency was a charged with the responsibility to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled and packaged water as
well as chemicals.
According to her, “upon assumption, I resolved to consolidate the gains of the past and take the agency to greater heights. This requires that our approaches to regulation imbibe best international practices and are aligned with global regulatory standards as we strengthen our regulatory oversight.”
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The NAFDAC boss said the agency was committed to regulatory reform and to strengthening regulatory framework “to enhance our efficiency and improve on our service delivery.”
She said in an effort to increase efficiency NAFDAC has “embraced fully the deployment and use of ICT in our operations. Our website has been revamped to increase transparency and we will continue to strive to build a more robust ICT platform.”
According to her, regulation comes into play at various stages in the lifecycle of a product.
Adeyeye said: “This could be during product development, reformulation, manufacture, importation, distribution or use to name a few. The various structures of the agency come into force – majorly in the form of directorates that work cohesively with a view to ensuring that regulated products are of good quality, safe, efficacious and wholesome.
“In order to ensure the effective discharge of our regulatory functions, the agency has developed Regulations and Guidelines to aid compliance with regulatory provisions. We have recently revised 25 existing regulations and harmonised 65 guidelines. These have been posted and are available on our website.”
She noted also that the agency had intensified nationwide inspection of all facilities to ensure that current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) were adhered to.
According to her, “we have adopted a risk-based approach in the inspection of foreign facilities, which is aimed at making inspections more efficient and targeted at high-risk products and manufacturers.
“The policy thrust of government, and by extension, the agency has a profound impact on the regulated sector.”
The NAFDAC DG reiterated that the Federal Government’s import prohibition list detailed products, which cannot be imported into the country and includes several regulated products, such as frozen poultry, fruit juice, soaps, detergents and medicaments, among others.
Said she: “The full list is available on the Nigerian Customs Service website. Products on this list cannot be imported into the country and the agency is mindful and in compliance with this policy.
“Safety of food raw materials such as garri, yam flour and beans is very important. Special care should be taken in sourcing of these raw materials by ensuring primary producers have, in place, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and
that adequate precautions are also taken during production to prevent contamination by rodents, chemicals and physical hazards such metal chips and stones.”
While urging Animal Feed Stake- holders to comply with regulations by ensuring proper use of guidelines, the NAFDAC DG warned that they desist from the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of unregistered animal feed.
“Obtain permit before importation of feed additives, concentrates and premixes and ensure strict adherence to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in their feed milling facilities.
The agency regulates the animal feed industry through listing of toll millers, who produce about 60 per cent of animal feed for farmers in the country, carrying out of cGMP inspections for on-farm millers that produce for their farm use and the commercial feed millers that produce branded animal feed for sales in the open markets,” Adeyeye added.
The DG also disclosed that the agency was in the process of publishing a compendium of registered NAFDAC regulated products, which has been hosted on its website.
According to her, the compendium is a veritable source of information and reference material for all stakeholders and consumers of NAFDAC regulated products, while also ensuring that all parties are in the same page, which is in line with global best practices.