The Vice-Chancellor of Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Edo, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, has charged the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to step up regulation of food and beverages in the country to safeguard the health of Nigerians.

Onimawo, a professor of biochemistry, made the charge during a news conference in Ekpoma, Esan West Local Government Area of Edo, on Tuesday.

He said that the food industry, including restaurants and fast food operators, were left to operate without strict regulations, giving them room to cut corners.

According to him, NAFDAC, the agency saddled with the responsibility of ensuring food safety in Nigeria, was too occupied with regulation of drugs, thereby neglecting the food aspect.

He advised the agency to also lay emphasis on regulation of food to minimise health problems arising from consumption of unsafe food and beverages.

“NAFDAC is supposed to regulate food and drugs, but their attention is mostly directed at drugs.

“The food aspect has not been really emphasised that is why you have a lot of food industries who are cutting corners.

“So NAFDAC should be made to concentrate also on the regulation of food. Whether fast food, restaurants or others,” the don said.

The vice chancellor implored the regulatory body to work in collaboration with Nutrition Association of Nigeria or Nigeria Institute of Science and Technology to ensure food consumed by Nigerians are safe.

“NAFDAC should also work in collaboration with Nutritional Association of Nigeria or Nigeria Institute of Science and Technology to checkmate the excesses of manufacturers of food and beverages in the country to ensure standards,” he said.

On the recent panic over safety of Sprite and Fanta consumption, Onimawo said the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) breached no law, adding that Benzoic Acid to preserve such drinks was safe for human consumption.

He, however, advised addicts to avoid taking them with ascorbic acid, otherwise known as vitamin c, warning that it is dangerous to the body.