In an interview with Dr. Tosin Adewuyi, he shed light on misconception of sachet, table water consumption on human body. It is worrisome the way the public is rushing at cheap products at risk of public health. They ignorantly claim that, ‘water is water.’
It is the standard that sachet water should have a shelf life of two months and bottled water, one year. If water were properly produced, the shelf life would be well maintained.
According him, the basic requirement is that NAFDAC looks for the pH (this cannot be seen with the physical eyes, but measured with an instrument. A lot of the producers do not even know this.
“Water producers are supposed to go for re-certification by NAFDAC after two years for sachet water. For bottled water, it is done after five years; this will ensure the quality of water produce to the public.”
Unfortunately, immediately after the first certification the water producer just produces without control. Some go as far as using the NAFDAC approved number for sachet water for the bottled one as well, he added.
For the sachet, the number has an ‘L’ at the end, showing ‘listing’, but the bottled water numbering has no ‘L’. The numbers are supposed to be two different NAFDAC numbers. Some fraudulently remove the ‘L’ from the registration number from the sachet water and transfer the same to the bottled water.
It costs N50,000 to get water products to be re-certified by NAFDAC, usually done after five years.
Defaulting on re-certification by a day above the date on which it is supposed to be done costs double (N100,000).
In a recent re-certification exercise, NAFDAC used a consultant to run a seminar at the University of Lagos and they were given a standard manual to help them keep the process as recommended.
Lamentably, not many producers paid to attend the programme, which was well planned for public good and health.
Perhaps, due to lack of manpower and transparency, NAFDAC has reneged on enforcing the set down rules/regulation. This is why there is proliferation of sachet and bottled water everywhere without good quality.
There is no way producers can sell water at N50 per bag of 20 sachets if they run their production rigorously.
He further said for the standard water process flow chart, It is expected that the water be moved from the borehole as raw water, then through a number of filtration and treatment with chlorine and passed through Activated carbon before storage in the treated water tank.
Treatment of water with chlorine is determined by the result of analysis of the raw water. Sampling of raw water, under microbiological analysis would likely show ‘uncountable’ in the bacteria count, chlorination is then carried out in order to reduce the bacterial load of the water. There are other ways of sampling the borehole water to ensure that the storage tank does not cause bacterial contamination. This is the standard process that any water producer must follow, unfortunately there are so many quacks and compromised processes that even NAFDAC have failed to monitor.