SON mulls new standards for cereal products
In an effort to boost breakfast meals with high dietary value especially for children, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), through its technical committee, is developing new Nigeria Industrial Standards for Cereal and Cereal products as well as review the standard for cornflakes.
This, according to the committee, is also to facilitate the certification of existing cereal and cereal products in the market in order to continuously guarantee consumers’ value for money.
According to the Codex Alimentarius Commission, cereals are traditional breakfast meals especially for children, made from processed cereal grains or any grass cultivated for the edible components.
The Commission said further that processed cereal-based foods are prepared primarily from one or more milled grains, which should constitute at least 25% of the final mixture on a dry weight basis.
Declaring the meeting open, Director-General of SON, Osita Aboloma, explained thus: “developing the Standards is a means of improving wellness and providing a nutritional diet for both the old and young”.
According to him, Nigeria stands to benefit from the development of these standards through products that are globally accepted which in turn would increase trade opportunities and competitiveness at the sub-regional, continental and global levels.
He stated that cereals are identified in different forms and grouped according to the grains used in the production, contents, as well as the processes used in creating a wholesome and acceptable product.
Represented by the Director, Standards Development, Mrs. Chinyere Egwuonwu, the DG SON enumerated specifications for the different kinds of cereals and stated that the development of the various standards is sacrosanct to the actualization of healthy eating.
The Standards deliberated upon include, Cornflakes (obtained from maize flour or maize grit), Rice Crispy, also called Pops (from a mixture of Rice Flour and other ingredients by extrusion, cooking, drying and toasting), Oatmeal (derived from cereal grain oat (Avena Sativa) and Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal (low in saturated fat and cholesterol in order to reduce the risk of heart diseases).
Chairman of the Technical Committee meeting, Professor Sunday Ojo Adigbo, of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta disclosed that discussion on the draft Nigeria Industrial Standard for Soy Pop (derived from soya bean) was stepped down while a 6-member sub-committee of Manufacturers was set up to re-present a new draft to the TC later.
The elaboration of these standards according to Prof. Adigbo is in response to the increased demand, production, marketing and consumption of the products in the country.
Participants at the TC meeting include representatives of Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria (IPAN); Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO); National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Promasidor.
Others were from Flour Mills Plc; Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC); OLAM Nigeria Limited; Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC); NASCO Foods Nigeria Ltd; Grand Cereal Limited; Phinomar Foods Ltd; Graceco Limited Lagos; Eureka Agro Ltd and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.