World Food Day: NGOs Task Federal Govt on Fats and Oils Regulation, Others

World Food Day: NGOs Task Federal Govt on Fats and Oils Regulation, Others

  • Some affiliated NGOs in Nigeria have declared that the fats and oils regulation bill will improve access to healthy foods for Nigerians
  • The non-governmental organisations made the declaration at a press briefing to mark the 2022 World Food Day with the theme 'Leave No One Behind'
  • Collective action across 150 countries is what makes World Food Day one of the most celebrated days of the United Nations calendar

FCT, Abuja - Some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have called on the federal government to gazette the ‘Fats and Oils Regulation, 2021’ to safeguard the health of Nigerians.

The NGOs also asked the government to:

“Put in place an effective implementation framework of the regulation for the good of Nigerians.”

They also urged relevant agencies under the federal ministry of health and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to ensure strict compliance of the actors in the sector with the regulations.

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Cross section of journalists at the press briefing in Abuja. Photo credit: @TransfatFreeNG
Source: Twitter

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The NGOs under the aegis of Trans Fat Free Nigeria coalition include the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED), and Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, October 17, representatives of the NGOs stated that the call was aimed at saving Nigerians from diseases associated with the consumption of foods containing trans-fatty acids.

The executive director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi said:

“For emphasis, combating cardiovascular diseases is beyond behavioural change as the burden of these diseases needs conscious effort from the government to reduce its incidences.
“In the interim, however, we urge Nigerians to be circumspect and avoid the consumption of Trans-Fatty foods which are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Trans Fat can be found in baked foods, fries, pre-packaged foods, and cooking oils.

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“It is also in butter, salmon, egg yolks and cows’ milk and foods we consider our favourite. On this premise, we can assert that there is no hiding place for any one of us unless the government acts and fast too.”

On his part, a project adviser at NHED, Dr Jerome Mafeni noted that early passage and implementation of the regulations would reduce the inflow of trans-fatty foods into the country’s markets.

He said:

“According to estimates by the World Health Organization, over 500, 000 persons died yearly resulting from complications associated with the consumption of foods high in trans fats. This statistic has led to the call for the global elimination of industrially produced trans-fat by 2023.
“Trans fats are fats produced from the industrial process of hydrogenation, whereby molecular hydrogen (H2) is added to vegetable oil, converting liquid fat to a semisolid and stable fat that has a long shelf life.

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“Food products containing unsaturated fats are susceptible to rancidity with attendant unpleasant taste and odour as a manifestation of their short shelf life.
“This thus led to research to create a more stable form of unsaturated fat that had the potential for a significantly extended shelf life and improving the value of a variety of foods.
“Industrially produced trans-fatty acids cause heart disease and death, are not necessary for food and can be eliminated.”

Also speaking, Joy Amafah of GHAI stated that the passage of the regulation will help cater to the needs of Nigerians regardless of social class or status and encourage access to healthy food options for all.

Her words:

“This step would potentially place Nigeria on the global front as the 2nd African country to enact best practices to eliminate industrially produced trans fatty acids according to the WHO Replace Action Framework.
“Therefore, making Nigeria an example to other countries in the region that this is indeed possible.

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“Good food starts with a good product, safe and healthy products are critical guarantors of good health for the Nigerian people but mandatory standards not voluntary will get you there. Food safety is a shared responsibility with a role for everyone to play.’’

Google West Africa celebrates 2022 World Food Day

Recall that global technology firm, Google, in July 2022 commissioned research that studies how food companies can feed over 7 billion people while managing the uncertainty and complexity of the modern world.

According to the firm, it is clear that food and agriculture companies need solutions throughout the whole farm-to-table journey to help them make food production more efficient; adapt to shifting trends in consumer diets and how/where they buy their food.

Google noted that the food and agricultural companies that succeed are the ones that improve their business predictions and decision-making by connecting their internal data with external trend data.


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