By Agbonkhese Oboh
Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA, has urged the Governing Council of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, to approve the Fats and Oils Regulations Bill as a New Year gift to Nigerians.
CAPPA also urged the Agency to commence mass education on eating right and shunning foods containing unhealthy trans fat “since Nigerians are very sensitive to their health and set about making resolutions which they try to follow through.”
A statement in Abuja by CAPPA’s Programme Manager, Adie Vanessa Offiong, stressed the importance of NAFDAC setting in motion the process for the draft Oil and Fats Regulation Bill 2019 to be passed.
The advocacy organisation said if passed, the bill will guide Nigerians on approved regulations on foods containing trans fat and are able to tell when the levels are unsafe for them to consume.
The statement quoted CAPPA’s Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, as saying “The wellbeing of Nigerians should be a priority of government in 2021 owing to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 on the citizenry in year 2020.
“Eating right is one of the ways that this can happen and the approval of the Oils and Fats Regulations is definitely the right step.”
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CAPPA recalled that the World Health Organisation, WHO, came up with the REPLACE Action Package to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids, TFA.
The REPLACE package outlines six strategic action areas to support the prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially-produced TFA from the food supply.
According to the WHO, eliminating industrially-produced TFA from the food supply is one of the priority targets identified in the draft 13th General Programme of Work, which will guide the work of WHO in 2019-2023.
“WHO warned that increased intake of TFA (above 1% of total energy intake) is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease events and mortality, which led to over 500,000 deaths globally in 2010.”
While echoing WHO in pointing out that “Several countries have, in fact, virtually eliminated industrially-produced TFA from the food supply through implementation of systematic policy actions and monitoring programmes,” CAPPA said the time for NAFDAC to act for a trans fat-free Nigeria is now.