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Groups seek protection of Nigerians against trans-fatty foods

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The Federal Government has been asked to save Nigerians from the deadly impact of trans-fatty foods by facilitating the approval of the draft regulations initiated by the National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which seek to reduce the amount of trans-fats in food consumed in the country.

The Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED) and Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) gave the charge, yesterday, in Lagos, in a statement issued in response to the recent release of this year’s “World Health Organisation Report on Global Trans-Fat Elimination 2020.”

NHED and CAPPA, however, said the country needed to speed up efforts to enable it meet the WHO 2023 deadlines.

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The groups lamented that the regulations titled: The ‘Fats and Oils Regulation 2019’ and The ‘Pre-Packaged Foods, Water and Ice-Labelling Regulations 2019,’ were yet to be approved several months after works on them were completed.

According to the Global Trans-fat Report, of the 17.9 million deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases globally, about 10 million are associated with dietary risk.

It also stressed that trans-fat consumption is associated with increased risk of heart attacks and deaths from coronary heart disease

In his foreword to the report, WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) – heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes – kill 41 million people worldwide every year.

“Industrially produced trans-fatty acids (TFA), which are still used in some countries as an ingredient in fried food, deep-fried food, baked goods and spreads, are linked with heart disease and death. But they can be completely eliminated and replaced with healthier oils and fats without changing the taste or cost of food.”

Also, Country Technical Lead of NHED, Dr. Jerome Mafeni, said: “Trans-fat consumption has become a major public health concern, even more so at this period of the COVID 19 pandemic.

“Government needs firm and stiff regulations to promote a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle so as to reduce our national cardiovascular diseases burden.”

In the same vein, CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said: “We recognise the Ministry of Health and NAFDAC’s efforts towards the regulations, but we are worried over the slow pace regarding the approval of the draft regulations.

“We, therefore, plead that urgent actions are needed to end unnecessary deaths from trans-fat consumption.”

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