NAFDAC unveils illegal wine factories in Anambra, arrests nine suspects
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has arrested nine suspects connected with alleged illegal wine and beverage manufacturing factories at the Relief Market, Onitsha, Anambra State.
This followed a special raid and enforcement operation of the Federal Government’s ban on imported fruit juices on Wednesday in Onitsha.
NAFDAC’s Head, Investigation and Enforcement, Kingsley Ejiofor, explained that those arrested were involved in the bottling of unwholesome, counterfeit and dangerous drinks. According to him, the beverages were being produced in unhygienic factories with cockroaches.
“We came here for a special assignment to mop up all counterfeit and prohibited products which include imported fruit juices, food, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics,
detergent and bottled water, among others.“We were able to uncover illegal manufacturers of bottle, unwholesome and dangerous chemicals, they call wine and spirits. It was so disheartening.”
Ejiofor said that popular brands of beverages like Hennessey, 501, Johnny Walker, Red Label whisky, Best Marula fruit cream, Pure heaven, Amarula, Baron De Vals, Eva and J&W, among others were being faked.
He listed items found in the factories to include stoves, colourants, plastic containers, cups, labels, corks, unidentified chemicals and recycled bottles.
“In one of the shops, the smell was so pungent that we could not even recover the materials and had to destroy them right there.“This is why we find the incidences of cancer to be high in this country because we don’t know what we drink.“I will like to use this medium to tell people to destroy cups, plastics or bottles after use because not doing so encourages these illegal producers.”
Ejiofor further advised retailers and consumers to issue and collect receipts for every product purchased to enable tracking.
Ejiofor said that the arrested suspects – five males and four females – would be interrogated and prosecuted, while the recovered items, especially the chemicals, would be taken to NAFDAC laboratory for analysis.