Coalition demands gazette of fats and oil regulation to safeguard Nigerians
In a bid to ensure the well-being of the citizenry, the TransFat Free Nigeria Coalition has called on the authorities to gazette the fats and oils regulations, 2021.
The Executive Director, of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi at a press conference in Abuja explained that the call was aimed at saving the citizenry from diseases associated with the consumption of foods containing trans-fatty acids.
Saying the responsibility to gazette the fats and oil regulation lies on the federal ministry of justice, he listed diabetes, dementia, heart failure, kidney diseases, cancers, and obesity as some of the diseases associated with the consumption of trans-fatty acids at the event to commemorate the world food day themed “Leave no one behind.”
He noted: “For emphasis, combating cardiovascular diseases is beyond behavioural change as the burden of these diseases needs conscious effort from the government to reduce its incidences.
” In the interim, however, we urge Nigerians to be circumspect and avoid the consumption of Trans-Fatty foods which are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Trans Fat can be found in baked foods, fries, pre-packaged foods, and cooking oils.
” It is also in butter, salmon, egg yolks and cows’ milk and foods we consider our favourite. On this premise, we can assert that there is no hiding place for any one of us unless the government acts and fast too.”
The project adviser for Transfat elimination, the network for health equity and development (NHED), Dr Jerome Mafeni who spoke in the same vein argued that early passage and implementation of the regulations would reduce the inflow of trans-fatty foods into the country’s markets.
Underlining the dangers associated with the consumption of TransFat, he said: ” According to estimates by the World Health Organization, over 500, 000 persons died yearly resulting from complications associated with the consumption of foods high in trans fats. This statistic has led to the call for the global elimination of industrially produced trans-fat by 2023.
“Trans fats are fats produced from the industrial process of hydrogenation, whereby molecular hydrogen (H2) is added to vegetable oil, converting liquid fat to a semisolid and stable fat that has a long shelf life. Food products containing unsaturated
fats are susceptible to rancidity with attendant unpleasant taste and odour as a manifestation of their short shelf life.
“This thus led to research to create a more stable form of unsaturated fat that had the potential for a significantly extended shelf life and improving the value of a variety of foods. Industrially produced trans-fatty acids (TFA) cause heart disease and death, are not necessary for food and can be eliminated.
“Industrially produced TFA is used in baked and fried foods, pre-packaged snacks, and certain cooking oils and fats that are used at home, in restaurants and in street foods. Elimination of industrially produced TFA from food is feasible, and some countries are taking action, although until recently this has been mostly in wealthy countries. Efforts need to move beyond high-income countries so that everyone can benefit from TFA elimination.”