By Dipo Olowookere
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has released the full result of its laboratory test carried out on some bags of rice recently seized by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), which were suspected to be plastic rice.
It would be recalled that the Customs Area Comptroller, Federal Operations Ikeja, Lagos had informed newsmen that his men seized over 100 bags of suspected ‘plastic rice’ branded as ‘Best Tomato’ in 25kg pack size, without NAFDAC number, no batch number, no date markings and no details of the manufacturer.
This caused tension among Nigerians as it happened few days to Christmas.
NAFDAC had swung into action immediately to determine the state of the rice and its preliminary result sent to the Minister for Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, who later posted on his Twitter page on December 22, 2016, that the rice was not ‘plastic rice’ as being feared, but maintained that NAFDAC would release the full result when completed.
Announcing the result on Thursday, December 29, 2016, acting Director General of the agency, Mrs
Yetunde Oni, said the rice seized by customs was not plastic rice as being feared, but “contaminated rice with microorganisms above permissible limit.”
She said due to this, “the seized rice consignment is UNSATISFACTORY and therefore unwholesome for human consumption.”
In her analysis, she gave the full laboratory report as presented below:
- 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 – 2.8×105 cfu (above maximum limits)
- Mould – 5.1×103 cfu – (within specification)
- Coli form – 7.5×103 cfu (above maximum limits)
- E-coli. – <3cfu (within specification)
- Packaging. – Does not conform to NAFDAC pre- packaging Food labelling regulations 2005.
While thanking the Comptroller General customs for the timely interception of the unwholesome rice, the NAFDAC boss assured that it would continue to partner with the NCS to intensify vigilance and surveillance activities at all entry ports and boarders.
“May I use this medium to appeal to the general public to report any suspicious case(s) about all NAFDAC regulated products to any of the NAFDAC offices across the nation for prompt regulatory action.
“I appeal for continued support and cooperation of all Nigerian to team up with NAFDAC in our concerted effort to deliver on our mandate of safeguarding the health of the nation,” she said.
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