Government assures on speedy ratification of trans-fat regulations
The Federal Government has restated its commitment towards a trans-fat-free Nigeria by expediting ratification of the oil and fats regulations in the country.
Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, who disclosed this in Abuja during a visit by members of the #Transfatfree Nigeria Coalition, assured that the ministry looked forward to collaboration on implementation and enforcement of trans fatty acids (TFA) regulation and capacity building for the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) towards improved testing.
Mamora, who committed to following up on the draft regulation, said: “It’s not just finding out the cause of the delay in the passage of the TFA regulation but to move it forward. This is about the health of all Nigerians.”
He also stressed the need to have preventive measures, given the number of oils sold in the markets, so as not to place an additional burden on an already stretched health sector, adding that when passed into law, the Fats and Oil Regulations 2019 would be the first regulation that would limit trans-fat to 2g per 100g of fat in foods.
Commending the efforts and work of the #Transfatfree Nigeria campaign, he said it was geared towards ensuring that national health security is assured. He urged the campaign not to restrict their work to the national level but consider looking into local foods that may be unhealthy.
While giving an overview of the #TransfatfreeNigeria campaign, Project Adviser of TFA Elimination, Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED), Dr. Jerome Mafeni, said the campaign has been engaging with NAFDAC but finalisation and gazetting of the regulations have been delayed.
He requested the intervention of the minister of the state towards expediting the passage of the regulations.
Country Head, Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED), Dr. Emmanuel Sokpo, also expressed concern around the morbidities associated with cardiovascular diseases from COVID-19.
Earlier, Country Coordinator of Cardiovascular Health Programme, Global Health Advocacy Incubator, Joy Amafah, who restated the urgency in the passage of the TFA regulation, highlighted that countries that started the process after Nigeria have passed their regulations into law.
Amafah said: “This process started in 2019 and the campaign is advocating the minister to use his good offices to advance the quick finalisation of the regulations, adding that there may be other stakeholders who are looking forward to engaging and investing in Nigeria on post-gazetting activities, but have put a pause on their plans given the delays in finalising the regulation and passing it into law.”
Nutrition Policy Advisor Resolve to Save Lives (RTSL) Nigeria, Dr. Maryam Al-Mansur, stressed the need to address the issues of trans fatty acids in Nigeria to reduce comorbidities of COVID-19 induced cardiovascular diseases. She highlighted other countries such a China, India, the Philippines, etc. who have passed the regulations into law.
Executive Director, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Akinbode Oluwafemi, expressed the coalition’s readiness to partner with NAFDAC and the ministry for effective implementation of the regulations when passed.
He also stressed that the regulations should follow the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) REPLACE package, being the global document and pathway to ensuring that countries were free from the dangers of trans-fat.