Not plastic but contaminated rice-NAFDAC

Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says the alleged ‘plastic rice’ seized by the Nigeria custom service is not made of plastic, but rice contaminated with unacceptable levels of micro-organisms.

The Acting Director General, NAFDAC, Yetunde Oni, said this at a news conference in conjunction with the Nigeria Customs Service NCS) in Abuja.

Mrs Oni said based on Laboratory result the seized rice was unsatisfactory and therefore unwholesome for human consumption, stressing that the consignment would be destroyed upon handover by the NCS.

She said, the product is not plastic but rice contaminated with microorganisms above permissible limit, hence the seized rice consignment is UNSATISFACTORY and therefore unwholesome for human consumption.

She explained that the product branded Best Tomato, was in 25kg bag, without NAFDAC number, batch number, date markings and details of the manufacturer.

Further explaining the result of the laboratory test, she said that floating’ was negative, sedimentation was positive, cooking was normal, odour was normal, colour was off-white and E-coli was within specification.

She said lead and cadmium were not detected, pre-ashing was normal, ash, moisture and mould were within specification but coli form was above maximum limits.

She gave detailed description of the laboratory tests upon which it drew its conclusions as:

Floating � Negative

Sedimentation � Positive

Cooking � Normal

Odour � Normal

Colour � Off-white grains

Moisture � 13% (within specification)

Pre-ashing � Normal

Ash � 0.6% (within specification)

Lead and Cadmium � Not detected

Aerobic mesophillic count � 2.8x105cfu (above maximum limits)

Mould � 5.1x103cfu- (within specification)

Coli form � 7.5x103cfu (above maximum limits)

E-coli � <3cfu (within specification)

Packaging � Does not conform to NAFDAC pre- packaging Food labeling regulations 2005

Oni called on the public to report suspicious cases about all NAFDAC regulated products to any of the offices across the nation for prompt regulatory action.

The Comptroller-General, NCS, Col. Hameed Ali, said irrespective of the outcome of the laboratory analysis, customs would remain vigilant and alive to its responsibilities.

Ali, who was represented by the Deputy Comptroller-General, Tariff and Trade, Umar Iya, said NCS was guided by intelligence reports.

Intelligence reports indicate that several metric tonnes of expired and dangerous rice are still lying in wait in warehouses in neighbouring countries and the target of the products is the Nigerian market, he said.

Ali said that the NCS would intensify patrols to ensure that such economic saboteurs do not succeed.

He urged warehouse owners and transporters across the country not to accept such smuggled products in their facilities or vehicles respectively.

He warned that both the smuggled products and means of conveyance were liable to seizure.

The Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS), had on the 19th of December seized weighing nearly 2.5 tonnes of what it suspected to be plastic rice in Lagos.

Customs Area Comptroller (CAC), Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’, Ikeja; Comptroller Haruna Mamudu said the unit seized no fewer than 102 bags of the plastic rice at a warehouse in Ikeja..

Source: Voice of Nigeria