Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Guinness Nigeria dismisses allegations on using expired materials

...We’re committed to best practices, quality – MD

The Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer of Guinness Nigeria, Mr. Peter Ndegwe, has refuted claims by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)that the company was revalidating expired products withoutauthorisation and supervision, as well as exposing its raw materials to rodents.

Stating this in its Lagos office, the MD said that in line with best practices, Guinness Nigeria destroys expired raw materials in partnership with the government, adding that samples of the said revalidated raw materials weretaken to manufacturers who analysed the materials to know if their ‘best before use’ can be extended, and in cases where they were deemed okay for extension, they were extended.

“ The issue NAFDAC said they had with us when they came to inspect the warehouse, was that they were not carried along in the revalidation process. But we were surprised when the letter sent to us noted that we have been fined N1billion,” he said.

The MD also explained that Guinness Nigeria was not aware that it was suppose to carry NAFDAC along in the process of revalidation, noting that it had never been stated categorically that NAFDAC would be carried along during revalidation, until the regulatory agency visited the warehouse and brought their attention to it.

Ndegwa further stated that the company consistently improves on the manufacturing process to “ensure that the quality of our products is top notch.” Continuous improvement in quality, Ndegwa stated, will remain a constant pursuit by the company.

He said: “We take our responsibility to deliver quality products seriously. The meticulous and painstaking work, including rigorous quality assurance that precedes the final production of all our products, has a singular objective: to ensure that our consumers drink products that are healthy and comparable with similar products made by a Diageo facility anywhere else in the world.”

The Guinness CEO also said that the company’s conformity to the highest standards of quality have enabled the repeated re-certification of its products and procedures by some of the world’s leading certification organizations as the International Standards Organization (ISO) as well as the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON). The company received the ISO 9002:1994 quality standard in 2001 becoming the first brewery in West Africa to be so honoured.

L-R Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Peter Ndegwa, Corporate Relations Director, Mr. Sesan Sobowale, Supply Chain Director, Mr. Cephas Afebuameh and Marketing and Innovation Director, Mr. Gavin Pike, all of Guinness Nigeria during a media parley which held at the Ikeja brewery of Guinness Nigeria, weekend.

Collaborating, the Director, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Sesan Sobowole, explained that the recent claim that rodents were in the warehouse only arose from the figment of the imagination of the media house that reported the story last Wednesday.

Sobowale, explained that NAFDAC did not state in their letter that there were rodents in the facility, rather he said the food and drug agency indicated that thecondition around the warehouse could attract rodents.

However, he added that the company late last month fumigated the warehouse and were given a clean bill afterwards, noting that there was no way rodents could live there since it was fumigated few weeks ago.

The Corporate Affairs Director further explained that the warehouse was a temporary one which the beverage company had already concluded plans to relocate to a more convenient site come January 2016.

According to him, the company was surprised when they received a letter from NAFDAC which slammed them with the fine.

This is even as he added that NAFDAC officials similarly expressed shock when Guinness Nigeria visited the agency to complain about the letter containing the fine.

According to him, key officials of the beverage company would be visiting the agency on Monday to meet with the DG NAFDAC who is out of the country at the moment, for clarification.

Cephas Afebuameh, the Supply Chain Director for the company explained that there is an extensive and elaborate process in which basic raw materials are first converted during the brewing stage, with lots of critical control points, before the products are bottled and released to the market.

Afebuameh said: “Each of these painstaking steps is rigorously monitored for conformity with all necessary global standards which we regard as basic, as we always aspire to exceed the much higher standards that have been set internally by the Diageo Group.”

The high quality of products from Guinness Nigeria’s breweries, he said, “Has been attested to repeatedly not only by NAFDAC, but also by the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) as well as the internal quality controls of the Diageo Group.”

He maintained that Guinness has over the years been actively developing and implementing new procedures and innovations, based on the imperative of improving efficiency across all areas of the organization.


This story was published in Newswatch Times on November 19, 2015. 

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