The National Agency For Food And Drug Law Enforcement Agency NAFDAC have shut down Chocolat Royal a well known and loved bakery, ice cream shop and cafe on Etim Inyang Crescent in Victoria Island, Lagos.
According to City Reporters, all food products/source material had expired – the oldest since 2004 and the newest in 2013. There were maggots found in some.
90% of the products were not labelled in English, and therefore were not registered by NAFDAC.
Illegal cold rooms were found in the building and in the MD – Amin Moussalli‘s house.
The contaminated food products were stored in cold rooms on top of sewage (‘suck away’ pit) and in front of toilets.
Shockingly, the foreign chefs also gave insight into the business practices saying they knew the products were expired but still went ahead to make them. City Reporters states:
On interrogation, the jittery cooks who identified themselves as John Gbokasa and David from Benin Republic confirmed to NAFDAC officials that the House belongs to Mr Moussali and that the fake, unregistered and expired food products found inside the two cold rooms were for Chocolat Royal.
“I know that the products have expired, some, 2004, 2006, 2009, but I am a cook and I take instruction from my boss,” David said.
“Anytime they need some products to prepare edibles at Chocolat Royal, they come here with van and mine is to give them key to take whatever they want and after they finish taken the items, they will return the key to me,” John added.
They however begged the NAFDAC officials not to arrest them but wait until their boss, Mr Moussalli who absconded and is still at large or the wife who they said was out of the country return. But NAFDAC, turned down their plea and arrested the two who during interrogation at Apapa office of the Agency gave vital information to NAFDAC.
While reacting to the incident after the operation, Director Investigation and Enforcement NAFDAC, Mr. Kingsley Ejiofor said that NAFDAC had in their custody six persons in connection with the incident, adding that they were arrested for intentionally obstructing NAFDAC officials while on official duty.
“The suspects will be interrogated, while the food products will be sampled and taken to the laboratory for analysis, where the labels and contents will be properly analysed and at the end of the day when the reports are out, that will determine the next line of action,” Ejiofor said.
The NAFDAC director, who commended the officers and the entire team for the successful operation despite the intimidation from the staff of the offending company, further said that the food and confectionary outlet will continue to remain close to allow for proper investigation.
“They will be investigated by the Federal Taskforce on Fake and Counterfeit Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods, and at the end of investigation, files submitted will be reviewed and after evaluation, we would send them to our legal department and we will be advised on what to do by the legal and if we have enough facts, then we will now proceed for prosecution,” he added.
But a twisted press statement meant to obfuscate the truth as well as, deceive the members of the public, the management of Chocolat Royal, on Wednesday, presented the invasion of its premises by NAFDAC as a normal routine check, trivialising the incident as nothing serious.
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