NAFDAC probes Galant bitters
Expert urges caution on use of packaged products
THE National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has alerted the general public to the proliferation of methanol-contaminated alcoholic herbal bitters in the Nigerian market therefore, the agency warns Nigerians to be careful on consumption of such products.
According to NAFDAC, “Methanol poisoning causes neurological problems, including visual disturbances, blurred vision, blindness, nerve damage and insomnia. Ingestion of high levels of methanol often causes death.”
Director-General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, told The Guardian, in a telephone chat that the agency, after extensive laboratory investigation, has identified ‘killer’ bitters in the Nigeria market and has sent public alert even as it has placed the products on hold.
The Guardian, last month, took a sample of alleged killer bitters, Galant bitters, to NAFDAC and lodged a formal complaint after some concerned Nigerians came to Rutam House alleging that their relatives died after taking the product.
Orhii explained: “We did laboratory test and found that the bitters drink contains high levels of methanol. We are mopping up the drink from the market and we want Nigerians to stay away from the bitters. The bitters were registered as imported product but it looks like somebody is adulterating and faking it somewhere here. We have sent out a public alert.”
The public alert notes: “NAFDAC hereby alerts the general public on the circulation of a possible fake and adulterated drink, Galant bitters, found to be contaminated with high levels of methanol.
“The Galant bitters registered by the agency is manufactured by Rita Food and Drink Limited, 30 Street, 4 Singapore Industrial Park, Thijan An District, Bing Doing Province, Vietnam.
“Methanol poisoning causes neurological problems, including visual disturbances, blurred vision, blindness, nerve damage and insomnia. Ingestion of high levels of methanol often causes death.
“NAFDAC has placed all Galant bitters on hold nationwide and currently conducting an investigation to determine the source of the contamination. Any useful information should be forwarded to the nearest NAFDAC office.
“The general public is hereby advised to desist from the consumption of Galant bitters pending the outcome of the investigation.”