NAFDAC shuts down 2 Enugu factories as crackdown on sachet alcohol begins

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has sealed two factories for producing 100-millilitre plastic alcoholic beverages and lack of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) in Enugu State.

NAFDAC enforcement operatives had focused on raiding seven marked alcoholic beverage factories in two days within the state – four factories in the Nsukka axis and three in the Enugu axis.

In the Nsukka axis, two factories were sealed, in another factory its workers ran away on sighting NAFDAC enforcement officers and the last factory was yet to start production. In the Enugu axis, two of the factories sought were not in existence and the remaining one relocated from its known neighbourhood within the metropolis.

The leader of the NAFDAC enforcement team, Wafar Elam, decried the negative effects of irresponsible alcoholic beverage consumption on the health, safety and security of the public.

Elam, an official of the Investigative and Enforcement Directorate of NAFDAC (covering South-South and South-East), said that the relative ease and affordability of the small alcoholic beverage and its pocket-size nature had made some school children abuse the beverage at will.

According to him, uncontrolled access and availability of highly concentrated alcohol in sachets and small volume or glass bottles had been put forward as a factor contributing to substance and alcohol abuse in Nigeria with its negative impact on society.

He explained that the consumption of alcoholic beverages could lead to renal (or kidney) failure and all sorts of cancer as well as respiratory tract infections.

“We are here to take action and enforce the ban on the production of alcoholic drinks in sachets, small volumes of plastic and glass bottles below 200 millilitres.

“During the raid, it was discovered that some factories had finished products, while others still have packaging materials in their possession,” he said.

Elam said that the raid followed the expiration of the deadline earlier given by NAFDAC for the ban on the production of alcoholic drinks in sachets, small-volume glasses and bottles across the country.

He said: “The body (NAFDAC) had in 2018, directed the stoppage of production or sale of all alcoholic drinks in sachets, small volume glasses and bottles by the end of December 2023.

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

“The committee premised its arguments on the fact that the rate at which the underaged population has access to alcohol was quite alarming because the manufacturers of the products make it accessible and affordable to everyone.

“It argued that due to its availability in sachets, many people are exposed to drinking too much alcoholic beverage at an early stage in life. As a result, underaged drinking has become a major public health problem in the country.

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