In a resolute move to prioritize the well-being of Nigerian citizens, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has announced the gazetting of the revised Fats, Oil and Food containing Fats and Oil Regulation 2022. Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of NAFDAC, revealed this crucial development during a press briefing held in Lagos on Monday. Complementing this regulatory enhancement, the agency also disclosed the gazetted Pre-Packaged Food Labelling Regulation 2022, signifying its dedication to transparent food information and consumer health protection.
At the heart of this regulatory revision lies a global aspiration set forth by the 2018 World Health Assembly in Geneva, advocating for the elimination of industrially-produced Trans Fatty Acid (TFAs) from the global food supply. This concerted effort, aimed at combating the rising tide of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs), is being championed by NAFDAC to ensure a healthier future for Nigerians and global citizens alike.
Prof. Adeyeye underscored the urgency of this initiative, drawing attention to the alarming impact of NCDs on the global populace. Heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung diseases, collectively classified as NCDs, contribute to a staggering 74 percent of all deaths worldwide, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Turning the spotlight onto Nigeria, Prof. Adeyeye highlighted the critical toll NCDs have taken on the nation’s health landscape. NCDs are estimated to account for approximately 25 percent of total deaths in the country. Even more concerning is the statistic that one in five Nigerians faces a 20 percent probability of succumbing to NCDs between the ages of 30 and 70.
“The significance of these reviewed regulations is monumental,” Prof. Adeyeye emphasized. “They not only set a new benchmark for permissible fats and oils content in foods but also institute a comprehensive labeling framework to provide consumers with precise information regarding fat and oil content.”
In accordance with WHO recommendations, the revised regulations address the core issue by advocating for the elimination of partially hydrogenated oils, a prime source of industrially-produced TFAs, from all food products. Moreover, these regulations set a stringent limit on industrially-produced TFAs, ensuring they do not exceed 2 percent of the total fat content in food items.
NAFDAC is steadfast in its commitment to enforce these regulations rigorously to achieve the intended positive outcomes. The agency has collaboratively worked with essential stakeholders such as the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and key Trans-Fat Coalition Partners in Nigeria, including Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED), and Corporate Accountability & Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), to usher in these transformative regulations.
Mr. Atanda John, the Director of Food Safety and Quality at the Federal Ministry of Health, has affirmed the ministry’s unwavering support for NAFDAC’s mission. He asserts that the revised regulations, aimed at preserving the health of Nigerian citizens, will be reinforced by policies and legal measures to ensure full compliance.
Dr. Jerome Mateni, representing NHED, lauded NAFDAC’s proactive approach in safeguarding public health and lauded the potential positive impact these regulations could have on Nigerian well-being. Dr. Mateni further called for increased collaboration between the public and private sectors to amplify health initiatives across diverse avenues.
As NAFDAC fortifies its commitment to safeguarding Nigerian health, these regulations stand as a testament to its dedication. Through the meticulous review of regulations and the tireless pursuit of improved public health, NAFDAC’s actions will indubitably leave a lasting imprint on the nation’s well-being.