The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has embarked on a nationwide raid on bakeries and shops where it confiscated thousands of bags of unfortified sugar.
The exercise led to the seizure of bags of unfortified sugar in 16 bakeries located in Okota, Isolo, Festac, Mile 2 and Lasu Isheri areas of Lagos.
The director general of SON, Mr. Osita Aboloma, explained that the move was part of its activities to ensure Nigerians get access to quality nutrients that would improve nutrition and health of its citizens.
Aboloma, who was represented by the agency’s coordinator, surveillances intelligence and monitoring (SIM) unit, Mr. Isa Suleiman, said the exercise was also meant to ensure that such products do not get to the consumers.
While acknowledging that sugar is a potential vehicle for fortification with vitamin A to control and guard against vitamin A deficiency, Aboloma said would not relent on its effort until unwholesome malpractice is reduced to the barest minimum.
“We raided quite a number of shops and we were able to evacuate certain quantity of unfortified sugar, so in continuation of that exercise, we were able to trace this particular premises and courtesy of our surveillance and intelligence report, we learnt the perpetrators had moved from their previous location and we kept following up and sometimes trailing the vehicles they use, ” he said.
“So far, we have evacuated a thousand bags of sugar. This exercise is going to continue until when we bring these unwholesome malpractices to the barest minimum because of the negative effect of the substandard nature of the sugar. They are unfortified and they have impurities. They also do not meet our NIS requirements. This is just an operation of a night and you can see that not all the rooms are filled up. This unwholesome practice is a regular act for them and evacuating them will be a regular exercise for us until we make sure that they are out of business,” he added.
It would be recalled that SON conducted an aggressive nationwide evacuation of unfortified food products, a move the SON boss said was in line with both the present administration and international organisation’s food fortification programme aimed at ensuring that Nigerians consume basic nutrients and vitamins for good health and development.