The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, or NAFDAC, is an agency of the Nigerian government charged with regulating the manufacture and sale of food, drugs and cosmetics in the country. It also has oversight of the packaged water industry, which has been subject to significant abuses by unlicensed distributors. NAFDAC has a set of regulations by which registered water companies must abide.
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Any company in Nigeria that wants to sell bottled or sachet water displaying an approved NAFDAC registration number must apply to the agency. The company needs to submit samples of its products for testing and agree to display an expiry date on its packaging. Once it has a NAFDAC number it can market its sachet product as "pure water."
In order to qualify for NAFDAC registration, the company must be formally incorporated, and its water product must have a trademark registration. It must have a business premises for water production that conforms to generally accepted manufacturing practices. The company is also required to retain a water analyst to oversee its production process.
NAFDAC labs will test the water samples provided by the company for purity. The agency carries out tests to establish the alkalinity of the water, and also to check for the presence of any elements harmful to human health.
The packaged water industry in Nigeria has been subject to significant criticism over its safety. NAFDAC itself has also come under fire for failing to adequately police the industry. Some companies are known to submit fake samples in order to pass NAFDAC tests and gain a registration number, but then sell untreated tap water labelled as pure. Other companies merely imprint an entirely fake NAFDAC number on their packaging.
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