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Beware of contaminated frozen vegetables, NAFDAC warns

…3,300kg of implicated product seized, earmarked for destruction

By Sola Ogundipe

The Directorate of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN) of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has warned Nigerians to beware of consumption of contaminated PINGUIN brand of mixed vegetables,  shipped to Nigeria recently.

Prof Mojisola Adeyeye

Issuing the warning in a public alert signed by the Director General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, the Agency declared that: “As a precautionary measure the public is advised to return all such frozen vegetables (PINGUIN BRAND) manufactured between 13th August 2016 and 20th June 2018 to the nearest NAFDAC office.”

According to the alert entitled: “Listeriosis resulting from consumption of imported contaminated frozen mixed vegetable”, NAFDAC recovered a total of 3,300kg of the implicated product, PINGUIN brand of mixed vegetables, which have been isolated for destruction, mitigating  health risks to the Nigerian public while further surveillance is on-going nationwide .

Adeyeye said the move is in response to the public alert from International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) on outbreak of Listeriosis in some parts of Europe.

“INFOSAN received the information from European Rapid Alert System on Food and Feed (RASFF). INFOSAN is a global network of national food safety authorities managed jointly by Food & Agriculture Organisation, FAO, and the World Health Organisation, WHO, whose primary responsibility is to assist member states in managing food safety risks and ensuring rapid sharing of information during food safety emergencies to stop the spread from one country to another.

Further the statement stated that Adeyeye was informed on July 11, 2018 by FSAN that the RASFF had confirmed that the compromised food (frozen mixed vegetables) was shipped to Nigeria.

“She immediately gave a directive for a nation-wide surveillance. NAFDAC’s FSAN directorate went into action and confirmed that some of the implicated products actually arrived Nigeria.

“Teams dispatched to the field found large quantities of the implicated products and placed them on hold. Placing on hold means the item cannot be distributed or sold.

“The outbreak of Listeriosis in Europe was linked to frozen corn and other frozen mixed vegetables. Listeria monocytogenes, the causative agent of listeriosis can be found in many foods. Examples include smoked fish; meats; cheeses (especially soft cheeses) and raw vegetables. Consumption of contaminated food or feed is the main route of transmission to humans and animals.

“Infection that can lead to death may also occur through contact with infected animals or people.

NAFDAC’s next step response started with the Agency’s newly created First Responders Team (FRT). The Team (composed of staff from FSAN, Investigations & Enforcement, and Pharmacovigilance/Post marketing directorates) carried out the nationwide investigations in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja.

“As a member of INFOSAN, NAFDAC has the obligation to respond promptly to INFOSAN alerts and give a feedback on actions taken. In line with its obligation, NAFDAC has sent required updates on her activities to INFOSAN, with regard to this outbreak.”

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