Concern about the wholesomeness and safety of our foods has increased dramatically, particularly in those countries where food shortage is not a problem. Increasing understanding of, and interest in technological matters on the part of the consumer and organized consumer groups, coupled with a recognition that neither government nor industry can guarantee the safety of food, have lent support to this concern. Our food present dilemma is that technology has opened our eyes of possible dangers of which were once blissfully ignorant. It has done so on two fronts. First, it has enabled us to measure in trace quantities, substances that previously went undetected, and we have begun to recognize that many of these substances form the natural background of our food supply. But perhaps more important, it has increase our awareness of the universe of possible affliction and their apparent causes. No longer do we focus our fear on acute, lethal effects. We now worry about the insidious chronic effects which rub us our health and diminish the quality of our lives.
Various forms of adulteration exists in food trade. For example, textured vegetable protein may be substituted for meat, or bean flour may be adulterated with other cheaper flour. In certain instances more costly vegetable oils have been diluted with cheaper ones or with non – edible oils resulting in cases of food poisoning with lethal consequences. Such practices must be curbed and any control measures on food should prohibit and penalize any such acts. Hence, the need for a food regulatory body.
Regulatory aspect of food is, in the main, an attempt to protect the health and pocket of the consumer, and to simplify trade at both the domestic and international levels. The policy designed for a food, invariably is derived from the various quality control measures which are exercised in the production, sale or importation of food. In other to achieve this, food laws must be enacted that will make provision for the legislating on the presence of poisonous materials in food, prohibit adulteration in any form and disallow the advertisement of misleading claims. It must also permit compositional, hygienic and labeling requirements to be stipulated, and the presence and amount of additives to be controlled. Provision must also be made to check dumping and for relevant regulation to he made. The penalties for infringement must be spelt out and these should be sufficiently stringent so as to be an effective deterrent.
1.2 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE NATIONAL AGENCY FOR FOOD AND DRUGS ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL
In a country like ours, which wants to stop the dumping of counterfeit and substandard products to avoid the purchase and consumption of unwholesome regulated products, it is necessary to regulate such products. NATIONAL AGENCY FOR FOOD AND DRUGS ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL (NAFDAC) is therefore, saddled with the responsibility of safeguarding the health of Nigerians through the fight against the manufacture, important, distribution and sale of substandard drug and unwholesome food products in Nigeria.
Therefore, the objective of NAFDAC is the promotion and protection of the health of the Nigerian consumers as well as ensuring rational and fair practices in commerce in the materials covered by the decree through which they are established.
1.3 GENERAL FUNCTIONS OF THE NATIONAL AGENCY FOR FOOD AND DRUGS ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL
According to (Section 5 of Decree No. 15 of 1993) the agency have the following functions:
a. Regulate and control the importation, exportation, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water and chemicals.
b. Conduct appropriate tests and ensure compliance with standard specifications designed and approved by the council for effective control of quality of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical, devices, bottled water and chemicals and their raw materials as well as their production processes in factories and other establishment.
c. Undertake appropriate investigations into the production premises and raw materials for food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water and chemicals and establish relevant quality assurance system, including certification of production sites and of the regulated products.
d. Undertake the inspection of imported foods, bottled water and chemicals and establish relevant quality assurance systems, including certification of the production sites and of the regulated products.
e. Compile standard specification and guide lines for the production, importation, exportation, sale and distribution of food, drugs, cosmetics, bottled water and chemicals.
f. Undertake the registration of food, drugs, cosmetics, bottled water and chemicals.
g. Control the exportation and issue quality certification of food, drugs, cosmetics, bottled water and chemicals intended for export.
h. Establish maintain relevant laboratories or other institutions in strategic areas of Nigeria as may be necessary for the performance of its functions.
i. Pronounce of the quality and safety of food drugs, cosmetics, bottled water and chemicals after appropriate analysis.
j. Undertake measures to ensure that the use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are limited to medical and scientific purposes.
k. Advice federal, state and Local Governments, the private sectors and other interested bodies regarding the quality, safety and regulatory provisions on food, drug, cosmetics, bottled water and chemicals.
l. Undertake and Co-ordinate research programmes on the storage, adulteration, distribution and rational use of food, drugs, cosmetics, bottled water and chemicals.
m. Issue guidelines on, approve and monitor the advertisement of food, drugs, cosmetics, bottled water and chemicals.
n. Compile and publish relevant data resulting from the performance of the functions of the Agency under this Decree or from other sources.
o. Sponsor such national and international conferences as it may consider appropriate.
p. Liaise with relevant establishment within the outside Nigeria in pursuance of the functions of the agency, and.
q. Carry out such activities as are necessary or expedient for the performance off its functions under this Decree.