NAFDAC, others caution on use of infant formula, advocate exclusive breastfeeding
National Agency for Food Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC), has called for the strict compliance with International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitute(BMS) and stressed the need to protect infant and through promotion, protection and support for exclusive breastfeeding.
According to the agency, lack of awareness and knowledge contributes to non-compliance of the Code as practiced in Nigeria.
The World Health Assembly (WHA) 1981 adopted the International Code of Marketing of BMS, as a weapon to protect breastfeeding from the negative impact that aggressive advertising, free formula samples, and other promotional techniques by Infant Food Manufacturers (IFM) were having on exclusive breastfeeding.
To address the scourge, NAFDAC in collaboration with Alive and Thrive/FHI 360 organised a one-day Sensitisation Workshop on compliance with the International Code of Marketing of BMS.
Director General, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojishola Adeyeye, said the workshop aims at re-sensitising key stakeholders on their responsibilities and commitment to the Code in checking violators and joining forces with the regulatory agency in curbing the menace.
The Director General, NAFDAC who was represented by Deputy Director, Food System and Applied Nutrition, NAFDAC, Abdulsalam Ozigis, explained that there are various challenges hampering actualization of the code.
“One of such challenges is the continued violation of the International code of marketing of BMS and national regulations by manufacturers of BMS products.
This has necessitated the need for the regulatory agency in collaboration with relevant partners to aggressively address this unpleasant situation through interventions including effective sensitization of all stakeholders,” she noted.
The NAFDAC boss said Nigeria voted for the adoption and therefore, expected to implement all its provisions in their entirety as a minimum requirement for its implementation through appropriate national measures including legislation.
Also, the agency has said efforts have been made to withhold further registration of alcohol in sachets to avoid abuse and damage to children.
The NAFDAC boss made the statement at the 41st Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) in Rome, which is the central part of the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) Food Standards Programme, established to protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade.
Adeyeye, who made several positive interventions on behalf of Nigeria in the agenda items being discussed during the CODEX meeting, which had a gathering of top food scientists and regulators from around the world, said the availability and easy accessibility of alcohol in sachets have posed sever danger to children.
Quoting the FAO/WHO report, Adeyeye said, “Harmful use of alcohol is a major obstacle to sustainable development; it has an impact on the health and well-being of the drinkers and their friends, family, colleagues and can damage the social and economic fabric of society.
The harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions, affecting maternal health and child development, non-communicable diseases and conditions such as cancer, violence, road safety, mental health and infectious diseases such as TB and HIV/AIDS.”
She commended the commission for highlighting the effect of soil contamination on food safety, problems of unhealthy diets high in sodium, sugars and fats, including trans-fat, and the dangers of alcohol abuse.
The DG also stressed that the CAC should follow procedural manual with respect to considering safety of food additives and also take cognizance of new scientific data to support standards, realizing that science is dynamic, adding that standardized daily intake of food additives should also be included in the manual.
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