A whopping Forty-two processed and semi-processed food products of Nigeria origin exported to the United Kingdom were rejected between January and December in 2014, the Punch reports.
This is 24 higher than the 18 processed and semi-processed food items that were rejected by the UK authorities within the same period in 2013.
According to statistics obtained from the European Union Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, the affected food products include brown beans, melon seeds, honey beans, white beans and watermelon seeds. Others are sweet potato, cashew kernels, nutmeg, snails, soft drinks and sesame seeds.
The data showed that more contaminated and substandard food products from Nigeria were discovered in other European Union countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Spain, Ireland and Italy.
The EURASFF stated that rejected products did not meet the prescribed regulations and quality standards specified by the receiving countries.
According to the agency, foreign agents discovered after analyses were not limited to rodent excrements and dead insects, but also included chemical contaminants like aluminium phosphide and dichlorvos, which are carcinogenic.
High levels of chemicals used in fumigation coupled with bacteria, fungi and mould growth were also discovered in some of the products.
It added that some melon seeds and honey beans were rejected due to illegal importation into the UK, while some were destroyed because of the absence of health certificates, certified analytic reports, common entry documents and poor state of preservation.
In 2014, 23 food commodities from Nigeria to the UK were destroyed, 11 were re-dispatched, one was recalled from consumers and another one was subjected to official detention.
Due to repeated rejections and alert notifications received on food products from the country, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has been mandated to certify packaged, semi-processed and processed food commodities for export.
The Director-General, NAFDAC, Mr. Paul Orhili, was reported to have said that many exporters had their products rejected and destroyed due to non-compliance with regulatory requirements for processed and semi-processed commodities.
He added that insufficient technical and non-scientific competence of some stakeholders on good agricultural practices and non-compliance with import requirements were other reasons for the rejection of the produce.
At an export sensitisation forum recently, the Deputy Director, Ports Inspection Directorate, NAFDAC, Mrs. Comfort Makanjuola, emphasised the need for laboratory analyses of all processed and semi-processed food commodities before export.
She explained that obtaining export certification for such product had no cost implication, adding that when the wrong type and quantity of pesticide were used, food products would be contaminated.
Makanjuola added that the agency often detected excess quantities of the chemicals during laboratory analyses.