The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has started enforcing the prohibition on the importation, production, distribution, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages in glass bottles with a capacity of less than 200 millilitres, PET bottles, and sachets.
This was disclosed on Monday in a news conference in Abuja by Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of NAFDAC.
“As of January 31, 2024, there is no alcoholic beverage in these categories that are registered by NAFDAC. I also want to inform you that the agency has started enforcement actions to enforce the implementation of this policy. The window period given to manufacturers by NAFDAC to sell off all alcoholic drinks in this category elapsed on January 31, 2024.
“To this end on the first day, after the elapse of the window period, the agency commenced nationwide enforcement actions on February 1, 2024 to enforce the implementation of the new policy,” she said.
She further stated that during enforcement action, it was found that some makers of the products that were prohibited were still in production and that they still possessed stacks of the products’ final goods as well as their packaging materials.
“This situation is of course not acceptable, and the agency views this as flagrant disobedience to the laws of Nigeria. NAFDAC views this matter seriously and will engage all statutory means, which may include prosecution, to deal with the matter.
“I want to use this medium to ask all holders of alcohol in sachets, PET and glass bottles, empty sachets, PET bottles, empty glass bottles, and other packaging materials of these banned products to immediately report to the Investigation and Enforcement Directorate of NAFDAC for hand-over of same to NAFDAC for destruction, to prevent sterner measures including prosecution,” she stated.
NAFDAC discontinued registering alcoholic beverages in small-volume PET and glass bottles with capacities less than 200 millilitres in January 2022.
In December 2018, a high-powered committee of the Federal Ministry of Health and NAFDAC, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, and the Industry, represented by the Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers, Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria, recommended this decision.
As a result of the resolution reached at the end of the committee meeting, producers of alcohol in sachets and small volumes decided to reduce production by 5% beginning January 31, 2022, while guaranteeing the product is completely phased out in the country by January 31, 2024.
“NAFDAC committed to ensuring that the validity of renewal of already registered alcoholic products in the affected category does not exceed the year 2024.
“NAFDAC is resolutely committed to the strict implementation of the regulations and regulatory measures towards safeguarding the health of Nigerians, particularly the vulnerable youth, against the dangers of reckless consumption of alcohol,” Adeyeye assured.
The don emphasised that the persons most vulnerable to the detrimental consequences of consuming the banned pack sizes of alcoholic beverages are the underage, commercial vehicle drivers, and riders.
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“The World Health Organisation has established that children who drink alcohol are more likely to use drugs, get bad grades, suffer injury or death, engage in risky sexual activity, make bad decisions, and have health problems.
“The WHO also stated that harmful consumption of alcohol is linked to more than 200 health conditions including infectious diseases – Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS; and non-communicable conditions- liver cirrhosis and different types of cancer. It is also associated with social problems, such as alcohol addiction and gender-based violence.
“To curb the menace of abuse of alcohol, WHO recommended some actions and strategies to policymakers that have shown to be effective and cost-effective, which includes regulating the marketing of alcoholic beverages, and regulating and restricting the availability of alcohol,” she explained.