Regulation and Enforcement of Food Safety in Nigeria
FOOD SAFETY IN NIGERIA
INTRODUCTION: AN OVERVIEW OF
SITUATED IN WEST
AREA: 923,768 KM²
STRUCTURE: 36 STATES
ADULT LITERACY RATE :
Some Major Food products Cultivated in Nigeria Includes;
Maize Yam Millet
Carrots Coco Potatoe Rice
Cereals 21.4 Million 90
Fats and Oil 1, 375 million 100
356, 000 98%
Fish 1, 025 million 100
2, 579 million 92
Sugar 12, 283 85
5, 914 million 80
Estimated Total Production of Foods and Percentage
Processed or Semi-Processed.
Source: FAOSTAT, FAO of the UN.
Top Ten commodities
Commodity Quantity [t]
7Rice, paddy 4833000
9Taro (cocoyam) 3450000
Sweet potatoes 3400000
Source: FAOSTAT, FAO of the
Top Ten commodities
Commodity Quantity [t]
1 Wheat 4039669
2 Sugar Raw 1089371
3 Palm oil 845000
4 Sugar Refined 357336
5 Paste of Tomatoes 122292
6 Malt 114681
7 Flour, Malt Extract 83271
8 Glucose and Dextrose 70391
Milk Whole Dried 69550
Top Ten commodities
Commodity Quantity [t]
1Cocoa beans 262295
3Sesame seed 124700
4Cake of Palm Kernel 70500
6Cocoa Butter 14864
7Cashew nuts, with shell 14077
8Cotton lint 13580
9Palm oil 12000
Cocoa powder & Cake 11770
Source: FAOSTAT, FAO of the
THE CONCEPT OF FOOD
Food Safety is defined as the assurance that the food will not cause harm
to the consumer when it is prepared and/or eaten according to its intended
use (FAO/WHO, 1997).
Food safety issues arise from factors such as ;
Improper Agricultural Practices
Poor Hygiene at all stages of the food chain
Lack of preventive controls in food processing operations
Misuse of Chemicals and Additives; additives used above permitted
Inappropriate storage and handling.
Pesticide and Vertinary Residues e.t.c
Counterfeiting, adulteration, mis-brandment e.t.c
FOOD SAFETY ISSUES; THE NIGERIAN
In Nigeria, Bacterial food-borne diseases caused by species of salmonella, clostridium,
campylobacter and escherichia are of major health concerns contributing to the morbidity
and mortality rates.
The lack of or inadequate application of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and the abuse or
misuse of agrochemicals by farmers during storage in developing countries have had
serious health effects on its population.
Inappropriate application of pesticides to stored products such as beans and grains to
prevent insect infestation, leading to mycotoxins production such as aflatoxin, ochratoxins
and fumonosins which are the major mycotoxins issues in Nigeria.
Poor Food Hygiene practices in small-scale Food enterprises and lack of through
The recent lead poisoning in Zamfara state of Nigeria which caused the death of dozens of
infants and children shows the poor attention given to toxic metals in food and water
consumed in Northern Nigeria.
Similarly, improper use of food additives result in various ailments ranging from
gastrointestinal disorders to carcinogenesis and death.
FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR FOOD SAFETY
ISSUES IN NIGERIA
CRITICAL FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR FOOD SAFETY ISSUES IN NIGERIA ARE
Food Safety Emergencies
Food safety issues in Nigeria, are further exacerbated by the following factors;
• Public ignorance on the subject- 'GERM NO DEY KILL AFRICAN MAN'
• Uncoordinated approach to food control
• Lack of technical expertise and adequately equipped laboratories in some cases.
• Poor enforcement of legislations and regulatory limits at grass roots.
• Recruitment of less skilled workers by the Food industries.
• Small and medium scale companies are not thoroughly monitored by regulatory bodies to ensure
strict adherence to safety guidelines while others are ghost companies.
• Public food providers do not understand HACCP and safety guidelines/requirements.
THE PROBLEM: FACTS AND
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates, show an annual occurrence
of 47.8 million, 2 million and 750,000 food- borne illnesses in the United States, United
Kingdom and France respectively.
More than 100 million cases of diarrhea in children aged under five years in 2008 and the
resulting 5 million deaths estimated to have occurred worldwide.
In 2008, Nigeria recorded annual nationwide estimates held steady at 87 million cases of
food-related illnesses, with 371,000 hospitalizations and 5,700 deaths, according to the
centre for disease control and prevention (CDC).
In 2010, many people in bekwarra local government of cross river state, suffered from food
poisoning due to consumption of moi-moi and beans, as a result about 122 people were
hospitalized, while deaths of two children was recorded. The moi-moi and beans were said to
have contained a large dose of highly toxic pesticides.
It was also reported that over 120 students of government secondary school, doma, gombe
state, were rushed to after consuming a meal of beans suspected to have been preserved
with poisonous chemicals
In Nigeria, the food and drug administration destroyed Aflatoxin-contaminated food worth
more than US$200,000.
of water due to
Public health laws (1917) now known as Public Health
Ordinance cap 165 of 1958.
The Standards Organization of Nigeria decree no. 56 of 1971.
The Food and Drug Act no 35 of 1974 (now Food and Drug Act
Cap F32 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004)
The Animal Disease Control Decree No. 10 of 1988.
The Marketing of Breast Milk Substitute Decree No. 41 of 1990 (
now Marketing ( Breast Milk) Act Cap M5 LFN 2004.
The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and
Control Decree No. 15 of 1993 (now NAFDAC Act Cap N1 Laws
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004).
• The Food, Drug and Related Products (Registration etc.)
Decree No 19 of 1993 [now Food, Drugs & Related Product
(Registration etc.) Act Cap F33 Laws of the Federal Republic
of Nigeria (LFN), 2004].
• The Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome
Processed Food Act No 25 of 1999 (now Counterfeit & Fake
Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous
Provisions) Act Cap C34 LFN 2004.
• Bye-laws enacted by various L.G.As in the Country.
• Consumer Protection Council Decree 66 of 1992
• Inland Fisheries Decree 108 of 1992
• NAFDAC defines food as any "article manufactured, processed,
packaged, sold or advertised for use as food or drink for human
consumption, chewing gum and any other ingredient which may be
mixed with food for any purpose whatsoever.
NATIONAL AGENCY FOR FOOD ADMINISTRATION AND
NAFDAC was established by decree 15 of 1993 as amended by decree 19 of 1999
and now The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Act Cap
N1 Laws of The Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
To regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution,
advertisement, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, chemicals, detergents,
medical devices and packaged water (known as ‘regulated products’).
Under the provisions of The Government of Nigeria Act No 19 of 1993 (as amended)
and the Food and Related products (registration) Act No. 20 of 1999 and the
accompanying guidelines, no food item may be Imported, Manufactured, Advertised,
Sold or Distributed in Nigeria unless it has been registered by NAFDAC.
FOOD REGULATORY ACTIVITIES OF
Licensing & Registration of Food Premises and Products.
Importation & Exportation of Food
Labeling of Food
Advertisement of Food
Closure of Unhygienic Food Premises
Health Control of Food Handlers
Irradiation of Food
Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes
Ante-mortem and/or Post-mortem Examination of Food Animals.
NAFDAC also plays other Important Roles in Food
• WTO (SPS) Enquiry Point (E.P) in Nigeria
• INFOSAN Focal Point/INFOSAN Emergency Contact
Point in Nigeria.
• Member of the Nigerian Delegation to Codex Meetings.
• Chair of The General Purposes Technical Committee of
the National Codex Committee (NCC).
STRUCTURE OF NAFDAC
• DRUG EVALUATION & RESEARCH
• CHEMICAL EVALUATION &
• FOOD SAFETY & APPLIED
• PHARMACOVIGILANCE AND POST
• VETERINARY MEDICINE & ALLIED
• ADMINISTRATION AND HUMAN
• FINANCE & ACCOUNTS
• PLANNING, RESEARCH &
• REGISTRATION & REGULATORY
• PORTS INSPECTION
• LABORATORY SERVICES
• INVESTIGATION & ENFORCEMENT.
• NARCOTICS & CONTROLLED
Nafdac is chaired by the director general who is appointed by the president after
recommendations and approval from the senate. The various departments are
chaired by directors.
The Main Strategy Employed by the agency For The Enforcement of
Nigeria’s Food Laws Is the process of product registration.
In theory, any food item not registered with NAFDAC is not legally
importable. In practice, many processed foods are routinely illegally
smuggled into Nigeria through the land boarders, by sea and by air without
having gone through the registration process.
Cutting Edge Technologies e.g Truscan, Mini Labs e.t.c
In recent years, NAFDAC appears to have become more active and
stringent in enforcing existing food laws, which has increased the level of
awareness of consumers to make informed choices and has also
encouraged local producers.
As the saying goes in the Food Industry,
The Fear of NAFDAC was THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM
CURRENT REGULATIONS AND
Name of Product
Contact of Manufacturer
List of Ingredients
Direction for use
NAFDAC regulation stipulates that all
food products should carry best-before
dates and/or shelf life on their
(JULY 1, 2005 OR INDICATE
NAFDAC regulations require food labeling to be informative, accurate and not
fraudulent or misleading. The following is the outline of NAFDAC’s minimum labeling
A nutrient labelling is mandatory for any pre-packaged food item for
which a nutritional claim is made by the manufacturer.
Where nutrient declaration is applied, the declaration of the following
is mandatory a) Energy value b) The amounts of protein c)
Carbohydrate (excluding dietary fibre) and d) fat (e) the amount of
any other nutrient for which a nutrient claim is made.
When nutrient labelling is applied, the amount of vitamins and
minerals considered to be of negligible importance and may not be
Foods for special dietary uses with claims of disease prevention,
treatment, mitigation, cure or diagnosis must comply with NAFDAC's
guidelines for registration of drugs and be registered as medicinal
Packaging and Container Regulations
At present, NAFDAC regulations are not specific on packaging, but the
agency is in the process of developing regulations on packaging.
• NAFDAC does not impose any specific restrictions on packaging
materials. however, plastics must be of food grade and should not leach
into the product.
• Nigerian importers, however, often express a marked packaging
preference for certain food products, namely:
o Relatively small sized products prepared and packaged for one-time
o Products that can be shipped in bulk and re-packaged locally.
o Perishable food products that undergo processing/packaging
Food Additives Regulations
NAFDAC has a specific food additive regulation on non-nutritive sweeteners and on
NAFDAC requires that wheat and maize flour, vegetable oil and sugar be
fortified with Vitamin A, while salt must be iodized.
NAFDAC applies the food additive standards of the Codex Alimentarius
Commission, E.U and FDA in its assessment of food safety.
No person may manufacture, import, advertise, sell or present any food
item or beverage containing a non- nutritive sweetener for human
consumption unless the product is "specified for special dietary usage."
Non-nutritive sweeteners, including saccharin and cyclamates, may be
used in low calorie, dietary foods/beverages but are not permitted in any
food or beverage to be consumed by infants or children.
Potassium bromate as a bread improver is not permitted. other bread
Food Irradiation Regulations ; General
Treatment of foods with ionizing radiation for human and
animal consumption are prohibited except special
authorization is given by the agency.
The irradiation of food is justified only when it fulfills a
technological need or where it serves food hygiene purposes
and is not used as a substitute for good manufacturing
Any person or facility that treats food with ionizing radiation
shall comply with the Codes of good irradiation practices
(GIP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and the
application of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)
principles applicable to the particular food product treated.
Pesticides and Other contaminants Regulation
The pesticide residue limits and mycotoxin standards of the
Codex Alimentarius Commission, E.U and USFDA are applied
by NAFDAC in its assessment of food safety.
All food products must have a certificate of analysis, which
demonstrates to NAFDAC's satisfaction that the item is free of
radioactive contents in addition to other quality parameters.
There is a maximum residue limit for approval of pesticides.
Contaminated products are subject to seizure and destruction
by NAFDAC and possible prosecution.
Other Regulations and Requirements
The following are documentation for registration and renewal of permit for imported food
A NAFDAC application form duly completed by the local agent (importer) for the
registration of each regulated product.
Foreign manufacturers must be represented in Nigeria by a duly registered company or
individual with the capacity to implement a product recall when necessary.
NAFDAC considers the local representative to be fully responsible for all matters on the
product, such as registration, distribution re-calls, legal actions etc.
The Nigerian importer/distributor must file evidence of a power of attorney from the
manufacturer, which authorizes him to be the representative in Nigeria.
A certificate of manufacture and free sale issued by a competent health authority,
authenticated by the Nigerian embassy in the country of origin.
Product license or evidence of product registration in the country of origin is an added
NAFDAC must approve all advertisement/promotional
materials prior to utilization.
Advertised food products must demonstrate to the
government of Nigeria that the products are legally registered
An application for advertisement must be submitted to
NAFDAC for its approval
This approval process is in addition to the certificate of
registration issued by NAFDAC which authorizes importation
and sale in Nigeria.
COPYRIGHT AND/OR TRADEMARK
Nigeria is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and a
signatory to the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC) and other major international
agreements on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
Despite active participation in international conventions and an apparent interest in
IPR issues, the government efforts are largely ineffectual in curtailing widespread
The trade marks registry of the Federal Ministry of Commerce is responsible for
issuing patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
The copyright decree of 1988, which is based on WIPO standards and U.S copyright
law, makes counterfeiting, exporting, importing, reproducing, exhibiting, performing, or
selling any work without the permission of the owner a criminal offense.
The expense and time required to pursue a infringement case through the Nigerian
judicial system often deters prosecution of such cases.
Certificate of Manufacture and free sale
Certificate of Analysis, trademark ownership, etc.
C. LABORATORY INVESTIGATIONS
D. PHYSICAL & ORGANOLEPTICS
TEST Weights and
Colour & Texture
Flavour & Taste
VETTING – Labelling
Routine Market Surveillance
Inspection of Facility
Aspects ascertained under GMP include:
Location of outfit
Equipment and Personnel
Master and Batch formulae SOPs
Handling of Complaints and Rejected/Returned goods
GIANT STRIDES BY NAFDAC
1. Cutting Edge Technologies
NAFDAC is spearheading global efforts in the use of cutting-edge technologies to fight
counterfeiting such as Truscan (Raman spectroscopy), Mobile Authentication Service (
SMS text messaging) and Mini Lab Kits. These technologies are currently being
experimented on food products to determine efficiency.
2. NAFDAC Laboratories gets International Accreditation
NAFDAC’s Mycotoxin and Pesticides residues Laboratories is ISO 17025 certified. The
accreditation was conducted by the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation. This
has launched the two laboratories into the league of internationally recognized and
3. NAFDAC, in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the
National Fortification Alliance (NFA) had reportedly established food fortification plants.
4. Increased Sensitization
Mini Lab Sensitization of Farmers
OTHER ORGANIZATIONS WITH A ROLE TO
PUBLIC SECTOR INCLUDES:
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF HEALTH
STANDARDS ORGANIZATION OF
NATIONAL CODEX COMMITTEE
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF
STATES AND LOCAL
THE PRIVATE SECTOR
UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH
THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF HEALTH
Federal Ministry of Health has the responsibility for formulating National
Policies, Guidelines And Regulations on Food Hygiene and Safety as well as
the monitoring their Implementation.
It is also responsible for establishing guidelines/requirements for the Nutritive
value of Food, And Monitoring of Food Environments and Handlers, Control
of Food Borne Diseases, the quality of public water supply as well as
national and international matters relating to Food.
STANDARDS ORGANIZATION OF NIGERIA (SON)
The Standards Organization of Nigeria is responsible for the
formulation of Standards on the Composition of Imported and
locally manufactured foods.
Over 100 Standards on food And food products as well as a good
number of code of Hygienic Practices for Food And Food
Products have been established. These standards and codes are
reviewed periodically to reflect current trends In technological and
Improving lives through standards
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE
• The Federal Ministry of
Agriculture is responsible
for promoting Good
Agricultural Practices and
NIGERIA PLANT QUARANTINE SERVICE (NPQS)
The objective of NPQS is to prevent
the introduction of dangerous and
destructive foreign plant pests
(insects, fungi, bacteria, virus,
nematodes and weeds) of plants and
plant products into the country and
prevent the establishment and spread
where introduction occurs despite all
CONSUMER PROTECTION COUNCIL
Consumer Protection Council is the
government agency responsible for
protecting consumers from
unwholesome practices and assisting
them seek redress for unscrupulous
practices and exploitation. The agency
encourages trade, industry and
professional associations to develop
and enforce quality standards
designed to safeguard the interest of
UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH INSTITUTES
Tertiary and research
institutes are responsible
for research and will
provide scientific basis for
policy development and
programme design in
addition to relevant training
programmes for capacity
building and manpower
• The food processing/service industry applies the various
standards, regulations and guidelines to ensure that food
manufactured, imported, exported, distributed and sold for
human consumption comply with the relevant food safety
• They should maintain appropriate internal quality assurance
based on the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
principles to ensure product safety and consumer protection.
• The private sector is also expected to collaborate and
complement government efforts in specific areas of education
and awareness creation on the need to adopt and cultivate
safe food handling habits by all categories of employees.
THE CHALLENGES FACED BY NATIONAL FOOD SAFETY
Uncoordinated response to food-borne epidemics and threats to
Overlapping functions of regulatory agencies.
Inadequate funding for the agricultural and research sectors of
Poor collaboration among the government, regulatory agencies,
academia, research institutes and the farmers, manufacturers and
Poor gathering, verification and dissemination of research data
and information for its application at relevant points of the food
Communication to consumers on the quality and safety features
National legislations and standards to enhance regulatory
Overlapping of functions and lack of coordination between
the relevant bodies and stakeholders leading to duplication of
efforts and avoidable friction.
Threat to life and willful damages are some of the problems
face occasionally particularly during enforcement of the
There is also financial constraints for Regulatory Agencies
The Nigerian government should establish a unified policy and legislation
on food safety and provide an adequate framework for the monitoring and
enforcement of food safety laws (issues, systems and regulations).
The relevant government agencies should be supported financially and
otherwise to promote the production of food products that meet the required
quality standards for international trade.
The employment of verifiable scientific and technical information and data
as it concerns diseases, cure, new techniques, method and analytical
procedures must be made available through information gathering and
dissemination to farmers, food industries, processor and consumer in order
to prevent and control food-borne diseases.
Promoting safety of food is a global issue and all regulatory bodies must ensure that
established standards are maintained and safety of foods guaranteed.
National and International standards must be implemented to give consumers the
best food without the hazards of contamination.
Towards the achievement of the objectives of the policy, the collective activities of the
responsible agencies are performed through regulations, regular inspection and
surveillance activities, registration of premises and products, laboratory certification and
The national food safety system should be strengthened, updated and effectively
managed to impact more positively on the standard of living of consumers and the
National standards bodies which serve as the catalyst in the prevention, control of
food-borne diseases should be further equipped and encouraged for the articulation
and realization of industrial and economic development.
• Codex Alimentarius Commission (2003). “Capacity Building for Food Quality and Food Safety
Activities of The Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization”
• FAO/WHO. 1997. Codex Alimentarius Food Hygiene Basic Texts. Joint FAO/Who Food Standards
Programme, Codex Alimentarius Commission. Pub. # M-83.
• Fao/WHO (2004) “International Cooperation on Food Contamination And Foodborne Disease
Surveillance,” Second FAO/WHO Global Forum Of Food Safety Regulators, Bangkok, Thailand,
• Nigeria Food Poisoning: A Silent Killer http://allafrica.com/stories/201204180281.htmlr Retrieved on
• Omotayo, R.K. And Denloye, S.A. (2002) The Nigerian Experience on Food Safety Regulations.
FAO/WHO Global Forum on Food Safety Regulators, Marakesh, Morroco.
• Total Facts About Nigeria. Http://Www.Total-facts-about-nigeria.Com/Agriculture-in-
• Nigeria http://www.fao.org/countryprofiles/en/ Retrieved 16/04/14
• Wagacha, J.M., Muthomi, J.W., (2008). Mycotoxin Problem in Africa: Current Status, Implications to
Food Safety and Health And Possible Management Strategies. International Journal of Food
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