The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has destroyed nine 40 feet container loads of spoilt imported frozen fish (9 x 40 feet) worth about One Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N150m) at Aluu dump site, near Port Harcourt.
The Deputy Director in charge of Ports Inspections, Mr. Tony Erahgbe, said that the fish product was discovered by NAFDAC officers on port inspections to be deteriorated with blood stains on the cartons.
He said: “The refrigerated containers that supposed to have temperatures of between -180c to -20oc was found not to be in optimal working condition and abandoned by the importer (consignee) for the shipping companies after they may have discovered the bad state of the product.”
He said that the shipping companies thereafter applied to NAFDAC for the disposal of the product and they were subsequently given the consent for forfeiture certificate by NAFDAC adding that two of the 40 feet container loads of frozen fish were from Port Harcourt port while the remaining seven came from Onne port.
“The product was shipped into the country by MAERSK Nigeria Ltd and SMACGM Shipping Line and was imported from Chile and South Africa. The fish product did not expire but the cooling unit in the refrigerated containers failed in the high sea as the products were being shipped into the country resulting in blood stains on the cartons of fish which is an indication of poor storage,” he stated.
On the high rate of poorly preserved and deteriorated imported frozen fish being witnessed at the ports in recent times, Mr. Erahgbe said that the fault is not from the importer or the shipping line but the shippers who are responsible for taking care of all technical aspects of the refrigerated containers that ought to put their act together.
He added that NAFDAC had always advised them on proper storage of their fish product to avoid the attendant economic loss.
The fish products were crushed and buried by earth mover machines at the dump site. More than twenty 40 feet container loads of spoilt frozen fish product that were imported through Onne and Port Harcourt ports worth about N300 million had been destroyed this year alone.