In a resounding call to action, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has declared an all-out war against the lurking menace of trans-fats in our diets. Standing at the forefront of this battle, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director General of NAFDAC, delivered an electrifying address during a press briefing, heralding the landmark release of the revised Fats, Oil, and Food containing Fats and Oil Regulation 2022 and the Pre-Packaged Food Labelling Regulation 2022.
Amidst an aura of determination, Prof. Adeyeye emphasized that this crucial endeavor is driven by a profound commitment to curbing the escalating wave of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and the staggering toll of associated fatalities. The grave specter of NCDs, encompassing afflictions like hypertension, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease, has been inextricably linked to the insidious consumption of trans-fatty acids.
“The alarming statistics from the World Health Organization underscore the stark reality that NCDs, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease, collectively account for a staggering 74% of global fatalities,” Prof. Adeyeye revealed with unwavering resolve. Her unwavering commitment to the public’s well-being was palpable as she pledged unwavering dedication to the comprehensive enforcement of these regulations, a bulwark against the tide of health crises.
With a spirit of renewal, Prof. Adeyeye heralded the dawn of a new era as the revamped regulations swept aside their 2005 predecessors, breathing fresh life into the realm of food safety and public health. She underscored the pivotal role played by the United Nations, unveiling their transformative ‘Replace’ action package. This visionary blueprint encompasses a mosaic of policy recommendations and impactful interventions poised to empower governments.
In the realm of actionable policy pathways, Prof. Adeyeye outlined two potent options: an outright ban on partially hydrogenated oils, the insidious source of industrially produced trans-fats, or the imposition of stringent limits capping industrially produced trans-fats at a mere two percent of total fat content across all foods.
“Excitingly, I am thrilled to announce that here in Nigeria, we have already embarked on a collaborative journey with industry pioneers and steadfast partners, steadfastly exploring alternative sources that will effectively neutralize the menacing influence of existing partially hydrogenated oils,” Prof. Adeyeye exclaimed, exuding an air of optimism and resolve.
In the symphony of collaboration, NAFDAC has orchestrated a harmonious alliance with esteemed stakeholders including the Network for Health Equity and Development, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, and the Global Health Advocacy Incubator. Speaking in harmony with this united front, Akinbode Oluwafemi, the Executive Director of CAPPA, chimed in, acknowledging the transformative potential of these regulations. With this visionary framework in place, stakeholders are armed with potent tools to dismantle the ominous risk factors associated with NCDs, setting the stage for a healthier, more vibrant nation.
As NAFDAC’s clarion call echoes through the corridors of change, it resonates with the promise of a future liberated from the shackles of unhealthy dietary choices. The battle against trans-fats has been ignited, and the path towards a brighter, healthier tomorrow has been illuminated.