Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has demanded that the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, signs the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Fats and Oils Regulations 2022 and the Pre-Packaged Food (Labeling) Regulations 2022, with the aim of addressing the consumption of transfatty acids (TFAs).
The demand was made during the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Media Meeting, organized by CAPPA in collaboration with the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).
Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director of CAPPA, in his welcome address said the campaign to eliminate transfat in food, through regulations by NAFDAC has been ongoing for a long time and commended NAFDAC for being a worthy partner that has helped to champion the regulations to address transfat in food.
Oluwafemi maintained that Nigerians must show a strong commitment to the elimination of trans fats from their food chain.
Mr. Abayomi Sarumi, CAPPA’s Programme Manager on Transfat free Nigeria Campaign, noted that there is no nutritional value in consuming transfat and that it is high time the Minister of Health shows commitment to the health and wellbeing of Nigerians by signing the regulations.
Sarumi appealed to the Minister to sign the regulations, stressing that “this could be the biggest gift of 2022 to Nigeria, and if signed, Nigeria will be part of the countries that have taken cogent steps to keep its citizens safe.”
Commending NAFDAC for its effort with the regulations, Joy Amafah, Nigeria Coordinator, Food and Nutrition Programs, GHAI, said “globally, we are supporting advocates across the globe to engage government around the transfat regulation. We’ve been doing this seen 2018 and we are really excited to see the process and hear that the regulation is at the final stage, presently at the table of the honourable minister of health for signature and hoping to be passed.”
Amafah noted that once the regulation is passed and implemented, Nigeria will be the second African country after South Africa that is adopting best practices to eliminate industrially produced transfats.
Mr. Abudulsalam Ozigis, the representative of Acting Director General of NAFDAC, Dr Monica Eimunjeze, explained that regulation of fats and oils remains a critical tool in mitigating the effect of diseases and deaths caused by the consumption of fatty acids, adding that Fats and Oils Regulations 2005 was still in existence prior to the Fats, Oils Regulations 2022, which he said is at the final stage of gazetting and awaiting signing by the Minister of Health.
Ozigis also noted that once the law becomes effective “contravention of any aspects of the regulations will attract assets forfeiture upon conviction and as such, any person convicted of an offense under the regulations shall forfeit any asset or property constituting proceeds derived from or obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of the offense to the Federal Government.”