Hello. My name is Emmanuel and I did my internship with National Agency for Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC) Lagos, Nigeria. NAFDAC is similar to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) of the United States of America. During the internship I was posted to three of her fourteen directorates of NAFDAC whose activities are closely associated to my studies in ‘Public Health Nutrition’; they are: Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN) Directorate, Port Inspection Directorate (PID), and Laboratory Service (LS) Directorate.
The FSAN seven division are: Food Evaluation Division, Food Inspection Division, MSM & Agricultural Products Division, Food Safety/Codex/ Food Policy & Reg/National Food Safety Mgt Committee Division, Food Storage & Quick Service Restaurants Division, Packaged Water Division, and Bakery & Baked Products Division. During my placement at FSAN, I was deployed to all the above FSAN divisions, so I acquired a lot of knowledge associated with food safety regulations. Then because going for field inspection is the primary duty of all FSAN staffs irrespective of their divisions, I was also regularly assigned to go for registration, renewal, and routine inspections where we inspected different food manufacturing companies both big and small, then on one occasion I went with a group of staffs for global listing inspection at a supermarket where we checked if all their food products meet the required safety standards.
I was also posted to the Port Inspection Directorate (PID) of NAFDAC. Out of the PID’s five divisions (Port Food Division, Port Drug Division, Port Chemical, Cosmetics and Medical Devices Division, New Technologies/ Post Port-Clearance Division, and Export Division) I was deployed to the Port Food Division, a division whose activities are also in concord with my studies in Public Health Nutrition. There I worked at the office of the Deputy Director in-charge of the division (Mr. S.F. Haruna). I was directly placed in-charge of receiving ‘Compliance Letters’. Compliance letters are the letters written to importers of NAFDAC regulated goods whose imported goods failed to meet NAFDAC regulation standards, and such importers are mostly ‘fined’. As I executed my duty, I observed repeated violations by some companies. Furthermore, at the PID monthly organised lecture meetings where her staffs from ports, outstations, and land boarders within Lagos assemble at the head office I was given the opportunity to give health lecture which I titled: ‘Towards Becoming an Emblem of Good Health’. Afterward my popularity in the directorate increased.
I was finally posted to the food division of the Laboratory Service (LS) Directorate where out of her eighteen units (Head of Laboratory office, Sample Office, Food Compliance 1, Food Compliance 2, Food Registration, Pesticide Residues, Pesticide Formulation, Microbiology, Mycotoxin, Sea Food, Alcoholic Beverages, Vitamin, Additive, and Lamime, Metals, Veterinary Drug, Water Examination, Radiation, Instrument Maintenance, and Melamine and Non-nutritive Sweeteners) I was only deployed to two (Water Examination Unit and Food Registration Unit). As I participated in the laboratory analyses at the Water Examination Unit, I learnt the SOPs (standard operating procedures) for the determination of free dissolved carbon dioxide, determination of methyl orange alkalinity, determination of chloride, determination of trace metals, determination of total alkalinity, determination of total hardness, determination of phenolphthalein alkalinity, determination of available chlorine. Similarly, as I participated in the laboratory analyses in the Food Registration Unit, I also learnt how the unit uses different SOPs for determining different product’s moisture content, total solid, ach content, total acidity, fat (Ross Gottlieb method), crude fibre, etc.
A letter from my supervisor (Arja Erkkilä) was of great importance to my securing the internship placement at NAFDAC. Then the three NAFDAC directorates (Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate, Port Inspection Directorate, and Laboratory Service Directorate) where I had my placements and their divisions and units where I had my deployments best suit my internship need and interest because the activities there are in concord with my studies in Public Health Nutrition. It enabled me the privilege of getting practical experiences on many of what I had learnt in the classroom. As such, the internship placements contributed greatly to my personal and professional development. In addition, besides being an opportunity for me to know how the civil service works, it was also an opportunity for me to serve my father land since getting all my degrees abroad did not give me the privilege of doing an NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) service in Nigeria after my first degree. For more information about NAFDAC please check her website: https://www.nafdac.gov.ng/