The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has alerted Nigerians and stakeholders in the healthcare industry on the detection of potassium bromate currently in circulation within the country.
The agency made this announcement via its official Twitter handle, sensitising the public on the recommended healthy flour improvers it approved.
Potassium bromate is a banned flour improver as it is a known cancer causing agent. It can also cause kidney failure among other ailments.
Enforcement team of NAFDAC during a warehouse search on 7 December, 2022, discovered cartons of potassium bromate pills in the Apongbon neighborhood of Lagos Island, Lagos State. The street price of the pills is twenty-eight million seven hundred and fifty thousand naira.
Additionally, they discovered in the warehouse a fake NAFDAC Registration Number 01-4242 on packets of counterfeit EDC Bread Improver worth 300,000 naira (N300,000). The operation resulted in the arrest of one Joseph Rapoluchukwu.
“As you are aware, potassium bromate popularly known as tablets in the black economy is always attractive to merchants of death who want to make outrageous profit at the expense of citizens’ wellbeing. This is because apart from improving the texture of a loaf, it also increases its volume and it is relatively cheap. For example, the seized tablets could be used with three hundred thousand (300,000) bags of 50kg flour to produce about thirty (30) million family-size loaves of bread.
“Henceforth, any flour product containing potassium bromate will be confiscated and the producer will be made to face the wrath of the law,” NAFDAC stated.
The agency also detained Obinna Michael Owerekwe, a 46-year-old “man” from 12 Boundry Street in Aba, Abia State, for importing a bogus product called “DELICIEUR cooking margarine” with various batch numbers and a fraudulent NAFDAC number A1 2508.
At the time of his arrest, more than 400 cartons (400 x 60 sachets) of the goods described above were discovered on him. He stated that he cleared at Onne Port in Port Harcourt after importing the goods via groupage from Dubai.
He admitted selling the products to different markets across the country. The estimated street value of the above mentioned products is eight million naira (N8,000,000). It is pertinent to note that the volume of the products imported is 250g by 24,000 units which could have reached over 24,000 homes had they not been intercepted.
“The public is hereby enjoined to watch out for these injurious products anywhere in the country and report same or any suspected fake/counterfeit as well as unwholesome products to the nearest NAFDAC office,” the agency stated.