For those who regularly visit the popular 5 star restaurant in high browed Victoria Island in Lagos State, called Chokolate Royal, the news of its closure by the officials of the National Agency For Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) last week must have come as a surprise. NAFDAC had to seal the company following a breath taking discovery of over N1 billion worth of expired food products that was reportedly unregistered with the agency, which the company has been using to prepare food and confectionaries for its unsuspecting customers.
There is no doubt that Chokolate Royal is a big brand, assumed to have built a reputation in the industry. In fact, the brand attracts mostly the big boys in town and other well to do people as their food products do not come that cheap.
NAFDAC was reported to have shut down the outfit, owned by a Lebanese business Mogul, Mr Amin Moussalli who is also the owner of the Wazobia FM, Cool FM, Nigeria Info FM, We tv, Wazobia tv, and Cool tv media outlets for allegedly using products which had expired as far back as 2004 to prepare meals.
Analysts have argued that this discovery would certainly be an eye opener for NAFDAC to come up with better operational modalities geared at ensuring that food vendors and companies are regularly monitored no matter how big the brand is. As it is, it appears that there may be other restaurants, eateries, Supermarkets and importers who may want to sacrifice the life of Nigerians on the altar of business. In fact, what has happened with Chocolate Royal goes to show that NAFDAC has not been doing its best in this area. Otherwise, such discovery would long have been made rather than relying on a tip off from some individuals.
Invariable, the danger of consuming food prepared with such food products cannot be overemphasized. Health observers argue that this confirms that there is nothing imported that one eats in this country that is safe. No wonder terminal ailments such as cancer, renal diseases and liver problems are becoming increasingly common in the country. Observers have argued that NAFDAC and other relevant agencies such as Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) as well as the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) should be up and doing. Many analysts have wondered how food products not registered by NAFDAC came into the country in the first place. Definitely, if the right monitoring strategies are in place, there would be no room for this kind of criminality by both Nigerians and foreigners who are doing business in the country.