The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has intensified its efforts to address the growing concern of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), which account for a significant 74% of all global deaths. In response, NAFDAC is taking steps to eliminate Trans Fatty Acid (TFAs) from food supplies in Nigeria.
At a briefing about the recently gazetted fats, oil, and food-containing Fats, Oil Regulation 2022, and Pre-packaged Food Labelling Regulation 2022, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of NAFDAC, emphasized the collaboration between NAFDAC and various organizations, including the Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED), Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), and the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).
Adeyeye expressed concern that more than 36 million people die annually from NCDs, with cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) being the leading cause, accounting for 17.5 million deaths each year. In Nigeria, NCDs contribute to approximately a quarter of total deaths.
NAFDAC’s Director-General highlighted the 2018 World Health Assembly’s “REPLACE” action package, which recommends policy changes and interventions to combat NCDs. This includes banning the use of partially hydrogenated oils, a source of industrially produced TFAs, and setting limits on their content in foods.
NAFDAC has undertaken significant steps to address these recommendations, including reviewing and updating regulations. The newly gazetted Fats, Oil and Food Containing Fats and Oil Regulation 2022 sets a limit of not more than two percent (0.02ppm) of total fats for industrially produced TFAs in food products. Additionally, the Pre-Packaged Food Labelling Regulation 2005 has been reviewed to include labelling requirements for Trans-fats.
Akinbode Oluwafemi, the Executive Director of CAPPA, commended NAFDAC’s efforts, emphasizing that these regulations will help combat risk factors associated with NCDs. Joy Amafah, Nigeria Coordinator of GHAI, applauded Nigeria for becoming the second country in Africa to set mandatory standards for TFA consumption. She assured continued collaboration to achieve healthier food options and reduce NCD-related health challenges and fatalities.
By addressing the issue of Trans Fatty Acid in food supplies, NAFDAC is taking a crucial step towards improving public health and reducing the impact of Non-Communicable Diseases in Nigeria.