The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has urged the National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to expedite action to ensure speedy approval of the ‘’Pre-packaged Food, Water and Ice Labelling Regulation, 2019’’ and ‘’Fats & Oils Regulation, 2019’’ – two guidelines aimed at regulating the amount of Trans fatty acids in the nation’s food chain.
The group in a statement to mark the two-year anniversary of the R.E.P.L.A.C.E package of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply, said NAFDAC should fast track the approval of the regulations, as part of responses to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The WHO had on May 14, 2018, released the replace package, advising governments across the world that “eliminating trans-fat is key to protecting health and saving lives.”
WHO estimates that every year, trans fat intake leads to more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular disease. “Industrially produced trans fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack food, baked foods, and fried foods. Manufacturers often use them as they have a longer shelf life than other fats. But healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food”, it further stated.
The REPLACE package specifically recommends six strategic actions to ensure the prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the food supply.
In Nigeria, efforts for the regulation are being championed by NAFDAC which has produced two regulations currently awaiting its council approval, namely: ‘’Fats and Oils Regulation, 2019 and ‘’Pre-packaged Food, Water and Ice Labelling Regulation, 2019’’.
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