To protect the health of Nigerians, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Monday, said it is poised to eliminate the Trans Fatty Acids (TFAs) from food supplies in the country.
The agency is working assiduously to achieve this feat in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Trans-Fat Coalition Partners in Nigeria.
Others are Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED), and Corporate Accountability & Public Participation Africa (CAPPA).
The NAFDAC Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said this strategy at a media briefing on the newly gazetted fats, oil and food-containing Fats, Oil Regulation 2022 and Pre-packaged Food Labelling Regulation 2022.
According to Adeyeye, the development aligns with the 2018 World Health Assembly in Geneva to eliminate industrially-produced TFAs from global food supplies to reduce Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) globally.
She cited the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics that NCDs, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease, are collectively responsible for 74 per cent of all deaths worldwide.
The NAFDAC boss insisted that in Nigeria, NCDs were estimated to account for about a quarter of total deaths, noting that the probability of dying between ages 30 & 70 years from the main NCDs is 20 per cent.
“NAFDAC gazetted two regulations on fat and oil to determine the minimal amount allowed in foods to safeguard the health of Nigerians.
“We also have the labelling gazette that will show the quantity of milligrams of fat and oil in our food,” she emphasised.
Adeyeye continued that the emergence of the two reviewed regulations implies that the 2005 versions of these two regulations stand as repealed regulations without jeopardy from whatever was purportedly done.
She says, “What we eat can kill, and we want to make sure Nigerians don’t eat what will kill them.
“WHO has recommended one of these two policy pathways for implementation by banning the use of partially hydrogenated oils, the source of industrially produced TFAs, in all foods.”
She added that setting limits on the amount of industrially produced TFAs not to be more than two per cent of the total fat content in all foods.
The implementation of the regulations, the DG pointed out, would be strictly carried out to yield the expected result.
On his part, the Director of Food Safety and Quality, FMoH, Mr Atanda John, said the ministry would develop a policy to support the reviews NAFDAC carried out.
While noting that the regulations aim to safeguard the health of Nigerians, John added that it would be backed up by law.