Sixty-seven processed and semi-processed food products of Nigeria origin exported to the European Union were rejected in 2015 and 2016, investigations have shown.
A breakdown of data from the European Commission Rapid Alert System showed that 42 Nigerian food imports were refused entry into EU countries in 2015 and another 25 in 2016.
The RASSFF report said that the food items, which were discovered to pose risks to human health, were denied entry into the continent after border inspection and internal control measures were carried out.
According to reports, the rejected food items include brown and white beans, melon seeds, palm oil, mushrooms, bitter leaf, ugu leaves, shelled groundnut, smoked catfish and crayfish.
Others are live snails, prawns, ginger, melon seeds, sesame seeds, peanut chips, dried meat and fish.
Data showed that some of the contaminated and substandard food products from Nigeria were discovered in European Union countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Poland, Greece, Finland and Italy.
The commission stated that the rejected products did not meet the prescribed regulations and quality standards specified by the receiving countries.
According to the agency, some of the food items are illegally imported and do not have labels, proper packaging, health certificates and other entry documents.
It said that foreign agents discovered in some of them after analyses were glass fragments, rodent excrements and dead insects.
It noted that high levels of chemical contaminants, some of which were used in fumigation, like aluminium phosphide, dichlorvos, dimethoate, trichlorfon, cyhalothrin, were also discovered in the products.
The report stated that microbes such as salmonella, aflatoxins and mould growth were also discovered in some of the products.
The report added that majority of the products had not been placed in the market when they were discovered to be unfit for human consumption, while those that had already reached the market were recalled.
In 2015, 17 of the food items were destroyed, four were subjected to official detention, four others were withdrawn from consumers, and nine were re-dispatched.
In 2016, 11 food commodities from Nigeria to the UK were destroyed, two were withdrawn from the market, and two were subjected to official detention.
In 2014, 42 food items originating from Nigeria were rejected, while 22 contaminated foods were recorded in 2013.
In June 2015, the EU banned all Nigerian dry bean imports due to the presence of high levels of pesticide considered dangerous to human health in them.
Due to the repeated rejections and alert received on food products from the country, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has been mandated to certify packaged, semi-processed and processed food commodities for export.
In addition, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, in order to drive the zero rejection of the country’s exports in the international market, organised series of capacity-building workshops for exporters to train them in standards and requirements in the global market.
The Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, Mr. Segun Awolowo, said lack of technical knowhow was responsible for the rejection of Nigerian products at international borders.
The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service has also intensified its efforts at quarantining agricultural produce for local consumption and export.