..says GS1 track and trace will eliminate problem
By Chioma Obinna, Olaide Jejelola & Chinelo Azike
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, yesterday explained the rationale behind its adoption of the GS1 standards for traceability in food and consumer product goods, disclosing that over 70 per cent of Nigerian food export gets rejected abroad.
Speaking during a sensitisation campaign on traceability of food and other consumer products in Lagos, the Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof Christianah Adeyeye said Nigeria must wake up in terms of the power and blessings that it has to export its products and whatever it manufactures.
Adeyeye who noted that the rejection was a huge loss of money and investment said NAFDAC was ready to tackle the problems surrounding importation and exportation of products to ensure that Nigeria is not missing in the global field.
Stating that the GS1 track and trace would help Nigeria in terms exportation of its produce, she said: “Without verification and track and trace of whatever products that are going abroad we will not be able to play on the global field. Why are track and trace very important? It is important because when things happen and you want to do a recall. You need robust chain management to get the recall of the products. “
She said onwards, NAFDAC will ensure that the product it would approve will be a product of quality and if there is going to be any infiltration it will be able to track and trace it. “Our NAFDAC number is going to immune into the bar-coding so that people will know when they are scanning that they are going to scan NAFDAC number. Part of what we are doing now is to eliminate a situation where people now fake our numbers. So by the year 2025, we should have about 70 per cent of our traders using bar-coding for traceability.
Giving reasons why the products are rejected, Adeyeye said “Most of the exporters don’t go through NAFDAC and after taking a shortcut at the other end they get to the other side there is no shortcut, the product will be destroyed but NAFDAC also needs to enlighten the public because people don’t know. “We have to enlighten the public more about the role of NAFDAC in exportation because of we have to test whether there is pesticide residues, moles in the food. We have to do all sort of testing because if we don’t when it get to the other side it will be destroyed.
She explained that the sensitisation meeting by the agency for people involved in food production and exportation was to ensure that the food, water, vegetables and all kinds of food Nigerians consume, are of good quality. She said right now NAFDAC has a robust team of agencies involved in exports like the Shippers council, SON, Customs etc. on the ground.
“To be of quality, we need to check to make sure that where they came from is of quality and where they are going or the way they go through the supply chain. The meeting is about verification of the food and also tracking the food where is going to because of you and I are the customers that consume these foods. If we don’t know the source of it then we don’t know if it is of quality. Of course, it has to go through NAFDAC so part of what we are trying to reinforce is to ensure that our customer is first in terms of the quality of the food or the product whether is water it doesn’t really matter the product that they are getting.
Speaking, Representative of GS1, Mr Kunle Oye-Igbemo said GSI traceability standards help in food and product safety as well as ensuring accurate and more rapid detection and determination of counterfeit products and instances of authorized distribution.