The Federal Government has said it will soon begin the implementation of regulations to control the consumption of trans fatty acids in Nigeria’s food supply. Olorunimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Health decreed that fat has been linked to an increase in the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancers and death. He said Nigerians do not deserve to die from what they eat either out of ignorance or failure of the government to do what is right.
Mamora said this in Abuja during a visit by the Trans-Fat free Nigeria coalition led by Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED) during which he was decorated with the Trans-fatty Acids (TFAs) Policy Champion Award. I am inspired to promote the healthy living of Nigerian citizens for when there is health, the economy of the country flourishes, people are happier, and they are able to achieve their life’s ambitions.”
“This award is remarkable, and I am happy on account of the good fortune which permits me to be an instrument in ensuring that the fat and oils regulations and labelling of pre-packaged food regulations receive the required attention at the Ministry of Health for onward transmission to the Federal Ministry of Justice for gazetting,” Mamora said.
While quoting new estimates by the World Health Organization, Mamora noted that over 250,000 people died yearly resulting from complications associated with the consumption of foods high in trans fats. He explained that it “has led to the call for the global elimination of industrially-produced trans-fat by 2023.”
In his remarks, Mahmuda Mamman, permanent secretary, Ministry of Health, stressed that the burden of trans fats health risk and cost of elimination/control measures are significant and the most effective way to identify and tackle trans fats is through food supply chain strategic policy, programmes and regulations.
“These, when effectively and efficiently engaged, have proven to mitigate its potential health crisis, loss of trade and economy. There is need for deliberate action on this and the Ministry having an overarching Mandate on food safety and working towards minimising incidences of risk associated with food is ever ready to coordinate efforts in reduction/elimination of Trans fats in food products,” he said.
Mamman further said there is need for a holistic drive and proper situating of regulations on TFAs. According to him, the Ministry is now poised to come up with National Policy, Strategic Plan of Action and legal framework on reduction/elimination of TFAs in Nigeria food menu for effective implementation, easy adoption by all stakeholders.
He disclosed that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is currently reviewing Fata and Oils Regulations to capture 2 percent maximum limit set up by World Health Assembly (WHA) and the Ministry is giving all necessary support and will make sure that the regulations on fats and oils are gazetted on time. “We call on all stakeholders to join resources together (technically and financially) to fight this monster,” Mamman urged.