The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it has destroyed nine 40-feet containers of contaminated imported frozen fish at the Aluu Dump Site, near Port Harcourt.
NAFDAC disclosed this in a statement signed by Mojisola Adeyeye, the agency’s Director-General (D-G) in Abuja, on Thursday.
According to the statement, the product, which was discovered by officers of the agency on port inspection, was found to be contaminated and had bloodstains on the cartons.
“The refrigerator that is supposed to ice the product was found in bad working condition.
“The refrigerated containers that are supposed to have temperatures of between -18 degrees Celsius to -20 degrees Celsius, was not found in optimal working condition and had been abandoned by the importer for the shipping companies.
“The products were shipped into the country by MAERSK Nigeria Ltd and SMACGM Shipping Line, and were imported from Chile and South Africa.
“The fish did not expire, but the cooling unit in the refrigerated containers failed on the high sea as the products were being shipped into the country.
“This caused the blood stains on the cartons, an indication of poor storage,’’ the Deputy Director in- charge of Ports Inspections, Mr Tony Erahgbe, was quoted in the statement as saying.
According to Erahgbe, the shipping companies thereafter applied to NAFDAC for disposal of the product, and they were subsequently given the consent for forfeiture certificate by the agency.
He said that two of the containers were from Port Harcourt port while the remaining seven came from Onne port.
He added that the high rate of poorly preserved and deteriorated imported frozen fish being uncovered at the ports in recent time, was due to poor maintenance by shippers.
He said shipping companies were responsible for maintaining the containers in the ship, and that NAFDAC had always advised them on proper storage of fish product to avoid the attendant economic loss.
According to Erahgbe, the products were crushed and buried by earth mover machines at the dump site.
He said fish products through the Onne and Port Harcourt ports worth about N300 million, had been destroyed this year alone.